Unique Gifts for the Special People in Your Lives – Part Two

It can get confusing this time of the year deciding on who you should buy gifts for. Does the mailman really deserve a tip? How about the babysitter who not only loves your kids but also frees up your Friday nights? I’ve pulled together a few more unique gift ideas and this time we’ll talk about some of the important, but possibly overlooked, people in your lives.

Your hairstylist — You give her monthly updates of your on-going family drama and she knows your secrets like only a good friend would. She also knows how you like you hair colored, cut, and styled. Why not show her some appreciation with this one of a kind wig hat? It’s perfect for those bad hair days that no stylist should ever have. Not digging the bright orange color? Don’t worry, Uncommon Goods also offers it in black.

wig hat uncommon goods

Your postal carrier — Let’s face it, your postal carrier is Santa. He (or she) lugs around that heavy ass bag bringing you packages year round. There should be a few weeks out of the year when they get some recognition for all the hard work they do. Giving your postman this cozy and festive hat from tipsy elves will show him that you recognize his labor intensive job.. It will also help keep his face warm.

Your boss — You’re hoping for a promotion next year and have decided to get your supervisor a holiday gift to seal the deal. What do you get the man in charge who already has everything? Forget an engraved pen or fancy paper weight! This wooden bow tie from Uncommon Goods is sure to put you on his radar. Not only is it practical but it also goes with all of his shirts. He will be thinking of you each time he puts it on — from staff meetings to Sunday brunches.

wooden bowtie uncommon goods

Your babysitter — Finding someone you could trust with your precious little ones with was hard to do. Luckily, you have someone who is there in a flash to put your offspring to bed while you go out drinking with your spouse. Show a little gratitude! Let your babysitter know they truly are a super-hero with these Batman hoodie and footsie pajamas from Spencer’s. Bonus: These jammies come with a cape for the times they’re flying by the seat of their pants trying to entertain your little angels.

Your assistant — Some of the hardest workers in your office are the assistants. Show them how cool you are and encourage them to keep working hard for the money with this blinged out sweater from Target. All of their friends and family will be envious when they see how loved they are by their boss! The dozens of compliments they’ll receive while wearing this festive holiday sweater will surely make them feel special; it’s destined to become a seasonal favorite.

ugly sweater target

Your questionable neighbor — It’s hard to know for sure, but judging by the smell and sounds that come from your neighbor’s house, you suspect she may be a cat hoarder. Avoid an awkward conversation and hold off calling the SPCA by doing a little investigating first. This extra special book from Barnes and Noble offers the perfect excuse to be a nosy neighbor without being glaringly obvious. Knocking on the door to drop of this thoughtful gift will be just the kind gesture you need to find out exactly what is going on behind those walls.

Your neighborhood strays — You feel bad for the stray cats that roam the streets but don’t want to take them in. Once the cold weather comes around for the winter you know you’ll be feeling horrible if you don’t do something to help them out. Why not give them a little love and a taste of home with this toilet bowl water dish from Spencer’s? It will look great on your front porch and make you feel good for helping out the homeless little critters.

Disclaimer! Give these gifts at your own risk. I’m not held liable for horrific hair cuts, damaged packages, loss of wages, missed sexy time, shortage of staff, pissed off neighbors or fines from the HOA.

December Photo a Day Challenge

I’ve decided to take part in the December Photo a Day Challenge. I’ve had a good time with these challenges in the past. I’ve added an Instagram widget to my side board and will be displaying the photos there for the month. I’ve also been trying to set up an image widget above my photos showing the topics for each day, but it isn’t working correctly. I believe this has to do with a bug in the upgrades WordPress made active yesterday, but I’m not certain. I’ll give it a day or two and then ask the forums for help if it isn’t resolved.

Anyway, here is the month’s challenges, in case you want to join in! Thanks to one of my best blogging pals, naughteebits, for posting this!

december-photo-a-day

What I’ve Learned from NaBloPoMo

This is my last post for the day, I promise. I’ve had to do four posts today to meet the 30 posts for November as a part of the NaBloPoMo. Technically I should have been posting once per day but I’ve had a few days of catching up here and there. Although I wasn’t able to keep up with it daily, I still have posted 30 different things this month and for that I am proud!

It’s hard to write every day. It takes a lot of thought deciding what to write about and it takes time to actually write it out. I can’t believe there are people who accomplish writing a novel in one month, but it’s true! I say good to those people! May you sleep well tonight!

I noticed on Blogher that they run post a day groups every month and I think I will try to participate in that for December. I like the challenge and I have noticed that it has become easier to write with each time that I do it. I’ve also noticed that I have fewer spelling errors to fix in editing and have an easier time picking topics. It has been fun, that’s for sure!

Well, this is it for today. I am patting myself on the back for this month and will try harder next month to get them done once a day. Then I won’t need to cram so much into one day.

El the Elf

We used a free iphone app by Office Max called Elf Yourself to make this funny video starring El as a dancing elf. We have been making a lot of these videos over the past few days and it’s been a fun and easy way to entertain everyone for a few minutes.

If you have an iphone or an ipad, and you haven’t played with it already, check it out by clicking the link above!

Unique Gifts for the Special People in Your Lives

ryan gossling diary

Did any of you venture out into the retail world yesterday for Black Friday shopping? We did and even though we didn’t see any impressive sales, I did happen upon these impressively weird (but fun) items in a hidden isle at Target.

First up, we have this lovely fridge magnet. This straight forward and colorful magnet would be a great gift for the furry creature (or furry creature lover) on your list:

dog magnet
Every dog deserves a magnet expressing his true feelings.

For the foodie on your list, why not give the gift of pickles. In eraser form:

pickle erasers
For the foodie on your list. Or the eraserer. Or the pickle fan.

Hey Girl! Don’t forget about that feminist friend in your life! This Ryan Gosling diary is perfect for remembering all of those strong girly thoughts.. He will encourage you to just be you daily:

ryan gossling diary
Dear Ryan,
Today I decided to conquer the world.
ryan gossling diary
He’s handsome and encouraging.

For the world traveler on your gift list, think about giving this straight forward luggage tag:

luggage tag
Airport security will appreciate the honesty.

Everyone has a rebel in their life. Encourage their bad-ass side with this flashy mohawk. It’s perfect for all occasions, from birthday parties to mosh pits:

lightup mohawk
For the rebel on your list.

For the blossoming designer on your list consider these wax gnome statues. They are sure to be a unique conversation piece and come in a variety of trendy colors:

Wax gnomes (minus the wicks) in trendy colors of coral and turquoise.
Wax gnomes (minus the wicks) available in coral and turquoise.

Last, but not least (and my personal favorite) this book is sure to bring a chuckle to even the most depressed person in your life:

A great read for those on your list who enjoy feeling sorry for themselves.
A great read for those on your list who enjoy looking at life from the glass is half-empty perspective.

Did you see any wild and silly items while you were out shopping or searching the net? Stay tuned, once a week up until Christmas I’ll be highlighting more of the unique gifts available for everyone in your life!

Live Blogging From Our Kitchen: He Don’t Need No Stinkin Recipe!

Tonight I’ve decided to try something different.. Live blogging, from the kitchen, while BF makes a yummy dinner.

Yumy chef

He’s trying something new tonight and so far I’m loving the ingredients..

These are the babysitters while we work..

They won't change no stinkin diaper!
They won’t change no stinkin diaper!

So what BF has done so far was finely chop mint, thyme, and rosemary and added them to a small container of riccota and then stirred in a palm-full of each Romano and Asiago cheese.

And I’ve been summoned to change poop…

Be right back!

False alarm! He just wants to eat. How awkward.

Snapshot_20131119_184347

Now back to the food!!

Then he washed and rough cut carrots and snap peas — why, I don’t know yet..

While I was gone he :

  • pounded down some chicken breasts (with a rolling pin, need that meat tenderizer)
  • rolled some of the cheese mixture up into the breasts and tied with twine
  • poured some butter over each (need that pastry brush)
  • ground black pepper and fancy pink Himalayan salt (OOOh lala) over chicken

IMG_0902

And I took a few more pictures but the battery on my camera died.

So, we will just let that charge

while the chicken bakes
at 400 degrees
for about 25ish minutes.

 Okay! Camera is back! Here is the chicken before it went in the oven:

not cooked yet

And here are the mysterious snap peas and carrots:

IMG_0919

He just sauteed them with garlic, butter, salt and pepper.

Isaac is home in time to eat!

all i said was i love you that time!

It smells so good in here! Yay! Chicken is done!

Oh this smells and looks great!

This was such a great meal and a lot of fun to do!
So delicious!

She Forgot to Mention One Little Thing

My daughter “HATES” Christmas music. She’s been saying this for over two years now but could never give me a reason. I don’t believe that she really hates it, maybe it annoys her, but hate! That’s a pretty strong feeling to have against Frosty.

We tease her about it occasionally, but this morning we decided to take it up a notch:

  • Every time we walked by her, or were in hearing range, we’d “accidentally” sing a Christmas song.
  • We determined that El wanted to listen to (rather loud) Chipmunks singing Rocking Around the Christmas Tree while he was in his bouncer. He loved it. She did not.
  • We thought it would be fun to play more Christmas songs — after making sure the music could be heard from where she was sitting downstairs.
  • We told her we were thinking of installing a whole house stereo system.
  • My favorite part of the morning was when I found all the Christmas songs she used to love as a little kid on You Tube, then posted them on her Facebook page.

She loves us. And I know she secretly still loves Christmas music. Or, maybe I’m just really evil.

“They get stuck in my head all day,” she explained this evening.

She’s probably laying in bed now, counting reindeer, trying to fall asleep. I should go sing her a lullaby..

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Tree Hugger!

One Thanksgiving, when I was about eight years old, my brothers and I were watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the living room while my Mom and Dad were cooking in the kitchen. My brothers and I were enjoying the floats and the big character balloons up until the very end when the last float of the parade was Santa’s Sleigh. It pumped out Christmas music as dancers dressed liked elves pranced around the float and Santa waved from the top. I ran into the kitchen to tell my parents how crazy the parade was to have Santa, “Christmas is still another month away!”

Being a child, a month felt like such a long time and December was always the longest month. It now strikes me as funny that I was so annoyed with the Santa Clause float. I was just a kid and I wonder why the float didn’t excite me and put me in the holiday spirit.

As the years of my adulthood pass, I witness Christmas being egged on sooner and sooner by retailers. Just last month when BF and I were at the nearby mall, walking through Bloomingdale’s we saw a few workers pulling out elaborate Christmas decorations. I rolled my eyes a bit but held onto comments about how ridiculous it felt to see Christmas displays when Halloween was still a few weeks away.

Over the past few weeks it’s been hard not to notice all the sales the stores are advertizing. Good sales, at that. I thought they were just clearing out stock so they could bring in seasonal items to sell, at first, but most of the discounts I’ve seen have been for things people will be buying for Christmas gifts. Video games, tv’s, toys, winter clothes and accessories, appliances, and home goods. Is it true? Is the holiday season already upon us?

For some reason I am not feeling as annoyed with it this year as I have been in the past. Maybe it’s because I have a baby now and little kids make Christmas feel more exciting. Maybe I am just happier and less cynical than I have been in the past. Maybe I am just used to being told we should get in the spirit sooner than later and have finally been brainwashed.

Last night, while driving home through the city, I spotted a lit up and fully decorated Christmas tree in someone’s apartment. I did an out-loud chuckle and pointed it out to BF. Through the rest of the ride home we saw no less than a dozen homes lit up with Christmas lights. BF asked if I had Christmas lights we could put up this year. Ten minutes had passed before I noticed the excitement brewing inside of me about decorating the house this year. Maybe even early.

Then I thought about all the Christmas things we’ve already begun doing early. We started watching holiday movies last week. Natalie and I talked about restarting our “bake a million Christmas cookies” tradition again. I’ve been thinking about what gifts to buy. There have been talks about a tree. The 8-year-old version of myself wants to scream “What, are you crazy?!” The 35-year-old kid in me feels good to get excited about Christmas again.

For the past three years our Christmases have been very low-key. I was tight on a budget, I was depressed, in pain, and I certainly wasn’t in the spirit. I almost feel like I want to make up for all the missed laughter and fun moments this year. I think I will decorate early. I will play holiday music and continue watching happy movies. I’ll make a ridiculous amount of cookies and enjoy buying gifts. I look forward to seeing the stores decorated and I’ll see past the frowns on people’s faces and focus on the ones who are smiling. I’m excited to spend time with my family and loved ones this year and I’m going to make it my mission to get the older kids excited for Christmas again, too.

My Boyfriend is the Best: Reason #13,904

Right now I have the perfect opportunity to write and it feels a bit awkward. BF is holding El and playing on his computer and I am sitting next to them, playing on my laptop. It came today and I am so excited that I can hardly stand it. It’s nice. Really nice and I am such a lucky girl.

I’ve wanted a laptop for a few years now so that I can type in bed or from the couch when my body isn’t feeling well. It’s been hard writing here lately also because I’m a bit shy and don’t like when people can see what I am writing. This feels much easier and much more private.

The laptop BF picked out is a Lenovo Yoga 2. I never heard of them before he showed me the website. It really is insane. The screen bends forwards and backwards, it can be used as a tablet, a laptop, or made to stand up like a tent. It’s touch screen, has voice command, and hands free command. It really is insane.

I can’t wait to use it in the kitchen. It’s always annoying to me when I’m reading a recipe on my phone and the screen blanks out. That won’t happen anymore 🙂 and now I can save all of our favorite recipes into the computer and add pictures to them. It will be like making our own cookbook!

Anyway, sorry to go on and on. I’m just excited and wasn’t sure what else to write about today. I’m going to play with this some more while the baby is occupied and then give lots of kisses to my awesome BF!

Cheers!

Sensai Trains the Toilet Paper Ninja

We do so many silly things in this house on a daily basis that I’ve decided to make Sunday’s about our silliness. I might tell a short story, post some images capturing the moments, or maybe a video, who knows. We really are a wacky bunch who like to goof around and laugh.

In my first post for Silly Sunday I’ve included some pictures I took of my sons. Isaac (the older one) dressed El (the baby) up in toilet paper and a snap bracelet and taught him some karate. I told you we were goofy 🙂