Little Passports Valentine’s Day Lunch Idea


First of all, this is adorable.

Second….that is NOT how my kids get lunch.

Once in a great while maybe, but not on a regular basis. According to the little blurb about the mom who designed this fabulous lunch, she does this all the time and has a little “cookbook” of sorts with ideas for these Bento box type meals. Lucky kids. I want a lunch like that all of the time!

Hey…this could also be a great idea to surprise a grownup in your life – the possibilities are endless!

Little Passports is also a super fun idea, a great way for children to learn about different parts of the world and you can select packages based on age ranges.

To learn more about Little Passports and the mom behind this healthy and fun Valentine’s Day lunch, click on the link above.


My Daughter’s “Blogging”

My daughter has been watching me and paying attention and I did not even know it, until I saw her one day going around with her kid camera getting in close for her shots.

She also loves to “cook” and craft and she has made these for my blog. She had an idea to scoop out the inside of an orange and then fill it with other fruit and yogurt, then top it with the other orange peel. She considers it a recipe (I do too when I barely did anything for my food, it sounds like I was much more involved) and calls these “Treasure Chests”. She must have seen an idea for them somewhere but I just think she is quite clever. She has only just turned “5”.

Her most recent creation is a cupcake made with little colored “puff balls” and a glittery-topped chapstick for the candle (it was a birthday present).

Of course, I think she is so stinkin’ cute…




Fit & Fresh Lunch Totes

While shopping at TJ Maxx, I saw a rack of fabulous looking lunch totes. Most came with plastic containers and thin-sized ice paks and I thought that they would make great gifts, especially since we’re all done with eating out and back to bringing our skinny lunches around with us…(aren’t we?).

I found the brand name at Amazon and other sources, as well as at Fit & Fresh’s site. Search the internet to see what you can find in addition to these below.

From Amazon:

$13.22 for Fit & Fresh Ladies Retro Insulated Lunch Bag with Reusable Ice Pack, Magnetic Snap, Black & White Damask (other solids ad prints available)


$24.60 for Fit and Fresh Men’s Sporty Lunch Bag Kit with Lunch on The Go Reusable Container Set, Black


$13.67 for Fit and Fresh Men’s Classic Roll Top Insulated Lunch Bag with Ice Pack, Light Brown


$25.21 for Fit and Fresh Men’s Big Phil Lunch Bag Kit with Lunch on The Go Reusable Container Set, Brown


From Fit & Fresh:

Kyoto Insulated Lunch Bag with Fresh Selects Set

Bryant Insulated Lunch Bag with Fresh Selects Set

Vienna Insulated Lunch Bag with Lunch on the Go (Patterned Lids)

Hyannis Insulated Lunch Bag with Fresh Selects Set

Portsmouth Insulated Lunch Bag with Lunch on the Go (Patterned Lids)

The 'Everything' Clear Lunch Tote with Insulated Drawstring Bag

All can be found here:

various pricing from $10.00 – $19.99 for those styles shown above, other styles and prices available


Soft & Adorable No-Sew Fleece Blankets

The “make it” side of my blog is a bit light and I always have it in the back of my mind. I love crafting and making things but do not put much energy into it at the moment. But things that you can make as gifts are some of the most fabulous things to give.

I saw these No-Sew Fleece Blankets and thought I would share them with you. There are many styles online as you search around but these caught my eye!

Jelly Belly Gifts, Big & Small

The Jelly Belly Factory is part of our world and it is a fun little tour, complete with train ride and jelly beans. I have no affiliation with them other than enjoying their goodies, so this is not a “pitch post”!

There are so many fun gift ideas here for the fall and winter holidays, as well as birthdays and parties. Whether you need a token gift for co-workers, school, friends and family or a bigger basket of goodies, you can find it here.

Harry Potter fans will enjoy the crazy flavors and “nod” to the candy in the series. Lots of other characters and larger quantities of bulk size individually wrapped small packages too that would be great when you a lot of a little!

I have provided individual links right to the gifts I am displaying here.

Here is their main site to just browse…and drool…

$6.99 for TABASCO® Dark Chocolate Covered Jelly Beans – 4.15 oz Gift Box


$8.99 for Pumpkin Pie Jelly Beans, 16 oz. resealable bag


$5.99 for 7.5 oz. bag of Giant Candy Corn! Woo-hoo


$5.99 for Jelly Belly Autumn Mix Gift Bag, 7.5 oz

flavors: Orange Sherbet, Chocolate Pudding, Peach, Red Apple, Raspberry, Pomegranate, Toasted Marshmallow, Top Banana


$5.99 for Sugar Plums, 5.75 oz. gift bag – available holiday season only


$9.99 for Jelly Belly Countdown Calendar


$5.99 for Holiday Favorites Jelly Belly Box, 4.25 oz.

flavors: Hot Chocolate, Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Pie, Candy Cane, Egg Nog


Holiday Gift Ideas from Chinaberry

$29.95 for Lay ‘N Go Cosmetic Bag

Aside from the very practical name displayed quite largely on this bag it looks like a great gift. Instead of digging around for makeup and toiletries, it is all laid out in front of you, then scooped up when you are done. Awesome!


$12.97 each for “I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas” Book, sale price

I am far from reaching “green” status in any aspect of my life but I appreciate it and am open to ideas to make it happen. This book caught my eye for being “green” at Christmas and I thought that you or someone on your gift list might find it interesting too!


As long as I am describing Christmas in a way that is not often used in my snowy white world of Christmas or any of the winter holidays (green and sunny!), I thought this just might be a fun CD too…

$6.95 for “Sunny Christmas” CD


“Ohlaf the Kringle Baker” Books from O & H Danish Bakery

One of the great adventures when you relocate is discovering the traditions and local customs of your new world. Kringle, a Danish pastry, is one of those newfound items for me. It is a local pastry steeped in tradition and we are fortunate to be close to a bakery rivalry.

Our children are born and bred here in the Midwest so I have to remind myself periodically that their experience is different from mine and I want them to embrace the world that they know. These two books about “Ohlaf the Baker” are super fun because they involve an aspect of their world that they just take for granted. It’s a yummy pastry to them right now, but hopefully they will appreciate this little tradition as they get older.

These books would be a great gift for those familiar with Kringle. If you are not familiar with it, grab these books AND a Kringle…or two…(I have included the site below) and enjoy a new custom!

$9.99 for “Ohlaf the Kringle Baker” book


$9.99 for “Ohlaf the Christmas Gift” book


For Kringle Pastries and other goodies, click here:

The Kissing Hand


This may just look like an ordinary hand to you (unless you are a palm reader, then you may see an extraordinary future ahead of me…or you may see that I am destined to have crumbs on my carpet forever…or you my see that I will never find a way to make my hereditary sideburns blend in – in that case, don’t tell me…) but this hand is special. It has kisses on it.

We have entered the elementary school years and are in the process of adjusting to kindergarten. It is our 3rd week and little by little it is getting easier. A few years ago when we entered the preschool years I purchased a book called “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn. It is about a little raccoon who needs to go school at night but he is worried. His mother kisses the palm of his hand (or paw, technically) so that he can use it to get a kiss from his momma when he misses her and feels sad while he is at school. The little raccoon feels better and is able to relax and play all day. That night (they are nocturnal ya know), as his momma takes him to school she starts to get sad because she will miss her little raccoon. So the little raccoon takes her hand (paw) and kisses it so that she can get a kiss from him while he is away at school. So adorable!

Last week I remembered that book as we were waiting for the school bell to ring announcing that it was time to enter school and my muffin would have a hard time separating from me. I kissed my little muffins hands, both of them so he did not have to worry that he could not remember which hand it was, and he kissed both of mine. It helped…for both of us.

Today,  it is Monday, and the start to the week so my little muffin asked if we could do the kissing hand and we did. We added a hug too.

My middle muffin has now started preschool, but it is her second year so she is not worried. I took both of my school muffins with me today to trek around to their schools. While waiting in the car for the school bell, I mentioned to my middle muffin that I could kiss her hand just like the story. She paused and then told me that she is not worried about school. I said that I knew she wasn’t, it was just to let her know that we could do that. All right, I guess she is ok with school. Good.

Then a few moments later she started feeling sad that she would miss her brother while he was at school. He asked her for her hand and then kissed her palm. She beamed. He told her to give him her other hand and he kissed that one too. She sat in the back of the car beaming because her brother had kissed her hands and she soaked it all in.

I had two thoughts…the first, of course, was that it was a hugely tender moving moment for this momma that her son had done this for his sister. It was such a loving act. It’s nice to see those periodically, especially going “top-down”.

The second, was that my daughter had no need for a kiss from momma on her hand because she was fine with going to school but that kiss from her brother made her day. Momma was “chopped liver”.

It isn’t the first time and surely won’t be the last!

This book is a great book if someone in your life needs a little extra lovin’ for the moment. I am sure you can purchase it many places. The Scholastic Book Club has it if your school participates. Here is it at Barnes and Noble – along with Chester the raccoon too!

The book is $11.36 and Chester the Raccoon is $14.00




Halloween Count-Down Calendars from Vermont Christmas Co.

I happen to thoroughly enjoy the fall holidays, so I was excited when I saw these count-down calendars for Halloween. They would make a really fun “treat” to help keep track of the days until “Trick or Treat”!

And since there will be enough candy to look forward to, the jokes and riddles inside each daily flap won’t overdo the sugar high…check their site for a few more designs and even some Halloween puzzles.

$4.46 for Halloween Count-Down Calendars with jokes and riddles, sale price

Gift Ideas from Lakeside Collections

$14.95 for Big Dog Refillable Lighter


$14.95 for Stanley Tripod Flashlight


I was quite surprised when I started hearing my 80’s music being referred to as the “oldies” – that was what my parent’s music was called, so how could MY music be called the same thing?

That’s the funny thing about getting older – you get older and your stuff does too.

$13.95 per set, Hits of the Decades – 60’s, 70’s or 80’s


$8.95 per set of Infant Rattle Socks (Flowers or Sports)

Growth Charts for “Back-to-School Time” from Current

I am in “Back-to-School” mode and I thought these would make a fun gift to keep track of how big the muffins are as their school year progresses.

$24.99 for Personalized Dinosaur Growth Chart, Peel ‘N Stick


$24.99 for Personalized Flower Growth Chart, Peel ‘N Stick


For some reason, our walls are texturized with sand so we do not have much luck with Peel ‘N Stick wall decorations. Here is a canvas version that would work on all wall surfaces or if you wanted to save it!

$24.99 for Pirate Canvas Growth Chart


$24.99 for Owl Canvas Growth Chart


To find more styles, visit their website:

Picnic-Sized Checkerboard from Target

$10.20 for Poppytalk Fold-Up Cloth Checkerboard Game, clearance

I am still working through my catalogs and magazines from months ago and spotted this in the “Country Living – June 2014” issue on page 20 as their Bargain of the Month.

I thought it looked like a fun summertime gift. And since I took forever to get to look at the magazine, it is an even better bargain now – it is on clearance sale!

Go snatch up this fabulous gift before they are gone…go, go go!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Birthday

The day arrived for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Birthday Party and what a day it was! Let me share it with you – click for that post!


Beach Inspired Gifts for the Wee Ones from Lillian Vernon

$34.99 for Lighthouse with Sea Critters


$8.99 each for Shell Collector Bag (Crab, Whale or Shark)

Forest Friends & Wood Grain Partyware from Fancy Flours

These decorations could be used for an adorable “Forest Friends” theme for a child’s birthday party.

I also thought they would be great decorations for “Outdoor Summer Parties”. The wood grain paper plates, napkins and straws, as well as the wood cutlery, could be the starting point for a really fun celebration!

$10.00 for Forest Friends Cake Decorating Set


$12.00 for Wood Cutlery, 8 place settings (recyclable, biodegradable & sustainable)


$6.50 for Wood Grain Paper Straws, Pkg of 25


$7.00 for Wood Grain Paper Plates, Pkg of 12


$6.00 for Wood Grain Paper Napkins, Pkg of 20

Popcorn Ball Decorating Kit from Popcorn Factory

Perfect for summer fun!

$29.00 for Popcorn Ball Decorating Kit (8 popcorn balls and candies)

USA Flashing Glasses and Necklace from Spilsbury

$8.99 for USA Flashing Glasses


$8.99 for USA Flashing Necklace

Pillowcases by the Piles From The Company Store

We have established that I love linens and that I love to buy fun pillowcases because I do not have room to store 50 sets of sheets per bed. Picking up just the pillowcases refreshes my bed linens and makes my heart happy.

My kids get a big kick out of my summer fish pillowcases!

It may be tricky to buy just pillowcases as a gift for someone if you do not know what their sheet patterns are. But, go out on a limb and have fun with it!

There are many styles to choose from, you can even shop for the whole set if just shopping for pillowcases sounds weird to you! Check out their sales too…

I love the “Farmer’s Market” pillowcases 🙂

$14.99 – $54.00 for Pillowcases


As if that was not crazy enough sharing 100 million fun pillowcases with you, I am now going to show you FLANNEL PILLOWCASES. Yes, I know, it is barely even summer. But, these are on sale and that is one of the best ways to get your gift shopping done…on sale and ahead of time!

$15.00 – $26.99 for Flannel Pillowcases

Personalized Tote with Toys from Personal Creations

$29.99 each,  for Personalized Tote with Toys – 4 critter styles available


How adorable are these?


Unique Baby Bottle Drying Racks from Target

Baby shower or new baby on your gift list?

How cute are these drying racks for bottles and accessories!

$12.00 on sale, for Boon Grass Bottle Drying Rack

$24.99 for Boon Grass, Stem & Twig Drying Set Bundle

$15.99 for Winter Grass Boon Bottle drying Rack

Light-Up Red, White & Blue Beachball from Current

Need a graduation gift? I think this one could cover all ages!

I am thinking of getting it for my kids…but it will really be for me…

$5.99 for Light-up Beachball

Peignoir Sets for Girls from CWD Kids

Seeing these reminded me that I had a peignoir set when I was little.

We did not call it a “peignoir” though…it was a bathrobe and nightgown!

I like calling it a “peignoir”…sounds very fashionable… and French…

$42.50 for Peignoir Set, pink or lavender

$49.50 for Ruffle Peignoir, lavendar

Shopping Spree of Gift Ideas

$24.99 for “Patisserie” Cake Carrier from World Market

This cake carrier was showcased in the Country Living September 2013 magazine. Make a special cake (like one of the ones in my “Food Gifts/Recipe” categories) and gift it with the carrier…yum


$29.95 – $39.95 for Personalized Lunch Boxes from Frecklebox

Another fun idea for a kid’s birthday or early age graduation gift. I love the throwback to the metal lunchboxes, which is what I used as a kid. Maybe it isn’t “cool” these days but it has their name on it and a chalkboard inside…seems “cool” to me, but then I may be outta touch! 🙂


$11.95 for 1 lb of Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle from Sweet Energy

Peanut Brittle Lovers can go to a whole new level of awe and appreciation for this gift!


$18.00 for Princess Story Time Bracelet and Wooden Keepsake Box from femail creations


$31.50 clearance price for Tower of Time Handprint Frames- 5 Years from femail creations


I saw the next two Sea Salt Companies and their gift ideas in the Cooking Light November 2013 magazine…


Check out these fun Sea Salts from Alaska Pure Sea Salt Co.

$32.00 for Gift Set Trio with Bamboo Tray (includes ORIGINAL SITKA FLAKE, ALDER SMOKED FLAKE, and WILD BLUEBERRY FLAKE salts)

$12.00 for Wild Blueberry Flake Sea Salt, 4 oz.

$12.00 for Sitka Spruce Tip Flake Sea Salt, 4 oz.

$10.00 for Alder Smoked Flake salt, 4 oz.


$11.95 – $13.95 for Jacobsen Salt Co. Oregon Sea Salts

Check out the above website for the whole list of their products and how they are made…they would make a great gift!

Preschool and Kindergarten Graduations

Do you have some “Wee Ones” graduating from preschool or kindergarten? That’s big stuff!

In addition to celebrating with cake and ice cream, how about one of these fun gifts?

$12.00 for 50 sheet Personalized Artwork Pad


$15.00 for School Memories Album

“Night Night, Sleep Tight” Children’s CD from

$6.99 2 CD set


We have quite a few children’s CD’s for sleepy time but this 2 CD set is the one that all three of my muffins preferred.

I think I will have to get each one of them a CD set for their “Treasure Boxes” for when and if they have little muffins of their own.

(I am feeling sappy because I finally took down the last of the gates separating rooms in our house today. It was more of a safety issue with them getting hurt running through it than it was a helpful option to keep my toddler safe. I am not ready to let him grow up…he’s “the baby”!)

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