Gourmet Peanut Butter Sampler from Uncommon Goods

I love peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower butter and on and on. This peanut butter sampler would make a fabulously different gift to surprise someone with. You can give it as one gift or break it up as party favors, host/hostess gifts, grab bags or token gifts!

 

Peanut Butter Sampler

http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/peanut-butter-sampler

$40.00 for Peanut Butter Sampler (flavors include:

Happy Trails Mix: Flaxseed, chocolate chips, raisins, split peanuts

White Chocolate Pretzel: Pretzel pieces, white chocolate chips

Snickerdoodle: Snickerdoodle popcorn

Chocolate Toffee: Milk chocolate, bits of toffee, rice crispies

Keep Smunchy: Honey roasted peanuts

Chocolate Coconut: Dark chocolate, shredded coconut, almonds

Exclusively at UncommonGoods.

 

Don’t Forget Your Bayberry Candle!

It’s tradition in our home to burn a bayberry candle on Christmas Eve.

Legend says that lighting a new bayberry candle on Christmas Eve will bring health, wealth and prosperity in the coming year.

Grab one for yourself and for a friend too!

Polka Dot Clutches from Kohls

These sassy little clutches would make a fabulous gift for the holidays. And at $11.99 each, you could pick one up for yourself.

Unless you are a guy.

But if you are a guy and you really want one, then you could get one too.

Who wouldn’t want these polka dots! (They have other styles too but I am partial to dots…and stripes).

http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1870578/apt-9-rhonda-ruched-wallet.jsp?pfm=rrrecs-pdp-gtab1

$11.99 for Apt 9 Rhonda Ruched Wallet

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http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1870371/apt-9-bobby-bow-clutch-wallet.jsp?pfm=rrrecs-pdp-gtab1

$11.99 for Bobby Bow Clutch Wallet

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http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1870350/apt-9-brit-bow-clutch-wallet.jsp?pfm=rrrecs-pdp-gtab1

$11.99 for Brit Bow Clutch Wallet

Beauty Balms from Avon

These could make a great stocking stuffer!

https://www.avon.com/product/52482/mark-fix-me-up-multi-benefit-scented-balm-trio

$18.00 for FIX ME UP – Scented Balm Trio to cure all of your beauty ills!

Wolferman’s Festive House of Treats

I love the packaging for this gift!

The breakfast treats ain’t bad either…

http://www.wolfermans.com/w/gourmet-bakery-gifts/boxes/50058

$29.95 for Festive House of Treats (25% discounted price)

Flower Ear Muffs from Old Durham Road

http://www.olddurhamroad.com/product/4931/Scarves_Wraps

$19.95 for Flower Ear Muffs

These are super fun and unique – know someone on your gift list who needs to keep their ears toasty? Treat them to these stylish ear muffs!

Think Outside the Gift Box

I am by no means a “green queen” but I do look for ways to limit my footprint and follow the three R’s…reduce, reuse and recycle. I have an abnormal love of wrapping paper and get excited to shop the after-holiday sales to stock up on my wrapping supplies. But I go beyond just being happy to get some stuff on sale. I need to search through the inventory to find the paper that catches my eye. Whimsical holiday patterns, quiet winter patterns, and crazy patterns that scream “holidays” are all on my radar.

But, all of that wrapping paper and the boxes add up fast and it often heads to the landfill.

Getting clever when packaging up gifts and looking for other ways to deliver those fresh and thoughtful goodies can be just as much fun as searching for the gift!

A reusable shopping bag is handy long after the gift has left its cozy walls. I store a bunch of them in my car for those shopping trips when I have to bag myself.

Baskets are very functional and even a decorated box can be used again as a decoration or to store items.

My love for pillow cases means that you can wrap the gift in a seasonal pillowcase and then they can wrap up their pillow later!

The same goes for a throw, blanket, tablecloth etc.

Other ideas:

– festive socks or mittens for small goodies or a wine bottle (even a wooly hat or a scarf!)

– oven mitt

– slippers

– metal coffee can and you can include a recipe for a coffee can quick bread

– a pashmina

– new towels

Mitten Tree from Plow & Hearth

I picked up one of these trees somewhere last year and I love it. No more mittens, hats, coats and snow pants scattered all over the floor, hopefully in a sunbeam, to dry. I fit every last piece of snowy wet gear (and wet summer sprinkler gear too) on it and it takes up little space and our stuff gets dry on all sides, not just the side facing up from the floor.

This version looked fun, especially for gift-giving because it has interchangeable finials available for an extra $9.95.

http://www.plowhearth.com/mitten-tree-with-heart-finial.htm

$39.95 for Mitten Tree

$9.95 for Seasonal Finials

The Afternoon Nap – Chapter Two, Twinkle Lights and Holiday Tunes

My afternoon nap had not happened for a few days and I had been all right with that since my last nap had involved a strange dreamlike trip to an unknown kitchen where I whipped up the greatest spiced tea and cookies ever known to man. Then I woke to find it all on the table beside me as if that was normal. I have yet to describe how I feel about that nap. It could not have been a dream and that is the strangest part of all. So what was it? I did not know. Even though it seemed harmless I was left with an odd feeling.

They always say that time erases “all whatever”. It could be wounds, memories, bad thoughts or pain. In my case, time had eventually erased my hesitation toward taking a nap after a few days and I was feeling game today. With my curiosity overpowering my need to have it all figured out before the next nap took place, I plopped onto the couch and settled in with a favorite magazine, deciding to make it a “moment” instead of just closing my eyes immediately. After perusing a couple of pages and catching up on the hot gift ideas that were suggested for the season, I was wishing that I had set the scene in my house a bit more for my “moment”. I had not turned on my twinkle lights or any holiday music and that did not seem like me since I loved this time of year and created my “moments” every chance I could. Where was my head? Maybe there were some lingering nap phobias roaming around in my head that I was too focused on after all.

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About halfway through my magazine, my eyelids were drooping and I was feeling ready to snuggle up under my blanket and close my eyes. I tucked the magazine next to me on the same table that only a few days ago had held some magic spiced tea and cookies. Pulling my cozy throw up under my chin, I drifted off happily thinking that I had really been missing my afternoon nap.

Feeling refreshed I opened my eyes, a bit hesitantly, and discovered that I indeed was not at my house. Nor was I inside the house from my previous nap. I was outside that house, outside looking into the kitchen that had so warmly welcomed me. The warm kitchen was a stark contrast to the coldness I was feeling now standing outside in all of this winter wonderness and I shivered. Even though I was somehow magically dressed for the weather wearing a parka type coat, a fluffy hat with matching mittens and boots that I had never seen, I was still cold. I turned around and noticed that I was standing near the evergreen trees that I had seen from inside. They were still covered by twinkling lights and fallen snow and they looked so magical. Even though it was not snowing now, there must have been a fresh snowfall recently because no footsteps could be seen, not even from a rabbit…or a reindeer, I thought. There was that childlike imagination again.
I wandered into the trees still keeping track of the house. I knew that I should be able to follow my footsteps back out the same way that I had gone in, but my rural roots taught me to use a backup, as did the Hansel and Gretel story. There were so many trees, all decorated with lights of various colors and sizes. It seemed like it would be impossible for someone to set their yard up like this, even all of those crazy holiday homes that compete against each other on TV would never have been able to do this. It was so simple, just lights, but so grand at the same time. It was a magical winter forest wonderland and nothing that my childlike imagination could have conjured up on its own.

It was so quiet, except for the faintest sound that seemed to be carried on the lightest breeze and I stopped to listen closely. The stillness was so quiet that it was almost deafening. But then I heard it again. A faint tune, the quietest whisper of music, holiday music. It paired beautifully with the twinkle lights but where was it coming from? I could not make out anything in between the trees so I wandered in a bit further. After walking for a few moments I could no longer see the house now that I was in the midst of the trees and the music seemed to be louder. The breeze had stopped and I wondered if that was why the music seemed louder. I still could not figure out where the music came from, it really just seemed to be hanging in the air, as if it were part of the beautiful winter scene and not some intrusion from a music player.

Once again, I was puzzled, yet calm. Even though it did not make any sense at all, I was content to just accept it and enjoy it. I did not want to miss a moment of this magical event by analyzing what surely had to be something logical. Eventually I would figure it out and then the fun of it all would fizzle. In some deep part of my heart there was a belief that holiday winter magic was behind all of this, even though grownups knew that was impossible. Being a grownup was not always fun so I stood there silently, feeling the magic of the lighted trees and the music surrounding me. I am not sure how long I stood there, but eventually my frozen feet made me come to my senses. I took one last look around and then followed my footsteps back out of the magical lighted woods and headed toward the house. I felt a little guilty marring the snow in this winter wonderland with my footsteps, so I tried to step in the ones that I had already made when I set off on my meanderings.

Back at the house, I peered in the window again but saw no one. There was a fire blazing and the house still had that warm lived-in holiday look of the season. It looked as though someone was going to bake, just as it had the day that I had been there because the counters were all set up with baking gear. I wiped the coldness from my eyes and when I looked into the kitchen again I was surprised. Was that a cup of steamy tea and a plate of cookies on the table that I had sat at? No, it couldn’t be. Could it? Was it for me again or was there another naptime visitor on the way? I had no idea and did not know whether I should go to the front door and knock. But what would I say if someone was actually there and did open the door? Telling them that I was the one who had been there a few days ago when I came during a dreamlike nap adventure was surely not the way to go. Nor was telling them that I had been wandering in their back yard, saw that they had cookies and tea set out while I just happened to be looking in their windows and was wondering if it was for me. Nope, that was not a good idea either.

The cold made my eyes squinty and I rubbed them with my hand as I let out a big yawn. When I opened my eyes to look into the kitchen again, I was back on my own couch still covered with my cozy throw. No parka or fluffy hat and mittens and no boots. Just the same comfy clothes that I had been wearing.

Craziness. It was pure craziness. What was going on here? My insides felt all tingly as if I was filled with butterflies. I wondered if there would be a clue on the little table but I was not sure that I wanted to find anything there. Without that evidence, I might be able to convince myself that somehow this really was all a dream. I had not had anything to eat or drink this time so logically there would not be anything to put on the table, right?

“Chicken”, I taunted myself. I sat frozen unable to turn my head.

“Go ahead, take a look”, I said a little less confidently.

I closed my eyes as I turned my head, as if that would somehow be helpful. My eyes opened first with a squint and then they popped opened wide. In front of me were beautiful twinkle lights decorating the inside of my house in all of the rooms that I could see from my couch, so many more than I had put out for the season. They were all on and shining. And what was that sound? Music? Yes, it was holiday music playing so softly just like I had heard in the woods.

On the table next to me sat a CD case wrapped with only a red bow. It was sitting right on top of the magazine that I had been looking at before I fell asleep.

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Wrap it Thoughtfully with minted.com

With personalized wrapping paper from “minted.com” you are not only giving a thoughtful gift but wrapping it thoughtfully too!

My fave is the Sugar & Spice Recipe wrapping paper – surprise someone with their own recipe on wrapping paper…

http://www.minted.com/product/wrapping-paper/MIN-KN6-CWR/sugar-spice?ccId=141457&org=photo

$15.00 for 5 sheets (more are available)

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You can also get papers to add photos or names etc.  and there are many options for the holidays or even just winter – see here for all of the options (birthdays and other holidays too…)

http://www.minted.com/wrapping-paper?it_category=n_holiday&it_id=c5i1gw&us=new+visitor

 

Meaningful Gifts from the Days of Yore

This time of the year I look forward to slowing things down and putting energy into the fun things that connect me with the holidays and the season. Back “in the old days” folks didn’t have to remind themselves to do these things because it was just the usual way of life.

Here are some of the “gifts of time” for people that I remind myself to do…

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Send a handwritten holiday card

Your friends and family love the pictures that you send of your kids and they will truly enjoy it even more if you add a hand written note. Just a couple of sentences about your weather, what’s going on in your neck of the woods or even sharing a memory shows that you were thinking of them specifically instead of just plopping down in front of the TV to mindlessly stuff envelopes. It takes a little more time and effort on your part, but it will mean a lot to someone. Have the kiddos sign the card and you just sent a bushel of love!

Make a phone call

In our techno world it is easy to forget that a text or an email is just not the same as picking up the phone to call someone and chat. Hearing your voice may be the best part of their day!

Stop in for a visit

And bring a treat! Grab a couple of drive-thru coffees and a baked good or bring something that you whipped up and stop to chat for a moment. Taking a moment to catch up with someone can be a better gift than anything from a store. It may even rejuvenate your spirit to continue ticking the errands off your to-do list!

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Holiday Photo Timeline from Chinaberry

http://www.chinaberry.com/p/Our-Family-Holiday-Photo-Timeline

$19.95 for “Our Family Holiday Photo Timeline” from Chinaberry

It holds 10 photos so that you can capture 10 years worth of holidays to grow, showcase and enjoy!

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A few years ago I bought one of these at a local gift shop for my own enjoyment and when I saw it in the Chinaberry catalog, I just had to share. It is a great gift for anyone!

Edible Christmas Card for Doggie from Current

http://www.currentcatalog.com/product/crunchkins-card-for-dogs-081343.do?sortby=bestSellers&from=Search

$500 for Crunchkins Holiday Card for Dogs from Current

Zum Bar Holiday Soaps by Indigo Wild

Fun names, great holiday smells and fresh gift ideas are what you will find at Indigo Wild!

Check out all of the wonderful holiday scents in these soaps and other super cool holiday gifts. It’s a fun place to browse…

http://www.indigowild.com/holiday.html

Here are just a few things!

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Give the gift of Frankincense & Myrrh –

http://www.indigowild.com/holiday/frankincense-myrrh/zum-gifts-zum-wise.html

$24.00 for Gift Box

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http://www.indigowild.com/holiday/frankincense-myrrh/zum-holiday-big-wood-ball-frankincense-myrrh.html

$6.50 for Frankincense & Myrrh Wood Ball

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http://www.indigowild.com/holiday/mazel-zum/zum-holiday-mazel-zum-bow-bar.html

$6.50 for Mazel Zum Soap

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http://www.indigowild.com/holiday/gifts/zum-holiday-mini-3-bar-box.html

$9.50 for Jingle Zum, Zum Jolly and Frankincense & Myrrh Mini 3-Bar Box

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http://www.indigowild.com/holiday/gifts/zum-holiday-sachet.html

$3.85 for Assorted Soap Shavings Zum Holiday Sachet

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http://www.indigowild.com/holiday/frosty-zum/minty-pine-frosty-zum-mist.html

$7.00 for Aromatherapy Room & Body Spray Minty-Pine Frosty Zum Mist

They Come with the Santa Hat…

In December we have a school holiday concert to look forward to and we are very excited.

Yesterday, I received a note from school that my wee one would be able to wear dress clothes or a costume – either a Santa (Mrs. Claus) or an Elf for this concert. My wee one decided to wear a costume and I had the perfect one.

I had seen these adorable Santa and Elf pj’s at Target in their flyer this week…

http://www.target.com/p/kids-striped-elf-sleep-set/-/A-15640088#prodSlot=medium_1_8&term=elf+pajamas

http://www.target.com/p/kids-santa-pajama-set/-/A-15808456#prodSlot=medium_1_1&term=santa+pajamas

Since the concert will run into our usual bedtime, I had a parental fantasy that I could kill two birds with one stone. I would have a costume for the concert and then he would also be in his jammies so I could just plop him into bed when we got home. Yes!

But, reality is that it will be cold so I will need to put other clothes on underneath his “costume” and if he ends up sliding around on the floor or some other kid related behavior, I would not in good conscience be able to put him to bed in those jammies. It was a nice fantasy though!

He took a liking to the Santa pj/costume, but they are on backorder and I am not sure they will be available in time. So, I ordered those as well as the Elf pj’s. It will mean a trip to the store to make a return at some point but that will be easier than running around like a crazy lady now.

My wee one was happy but he also needed a hat.

A hat, ok. Should be easy enough.

You would think that we had Santa hats stashed away in our holiday bins but we do not. I figured that I had better order that as well since we never know when I will be getting out to browse.

A search on the Target website proved to be slim for Santa hats and this is what I had to choose from…

The Santa and Elf “pants” come with the hat.

Well, I needed a hat. I could not be choosy even though I got more than I had asked for! I just hope that I do not mix up his costume.

But what am I gonna do with the Santa or Elf “pants”?

I see a blog giveaway in my future…

Gifts of Food, Music & More from “Menus and Music”

I was quite taken with the “Music and Menus” collection and thought that these would make great gifts. They have recipes with a music CD to match different types of gatherings and moments…very fun and different and so many to choose from!

http://www.menusandmusic.com/Christmas_Cookies_p/008mc.htm

$26.00 for Christmas Cookies – A collection of recipes for holiday baking and a music CD from the Nutcracker Ballet

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http://www.menusandmusic.com/Chocolate_Bliss_p/010mc.htm

$26.00 for Chocolate Bliss – A collection of chocolate recipes and a music CD

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http://www.menusandmusic.com/Bourbon_Black_Tea_p/14h-0320.htm

$12.00 for Bourbon Black Tea, 28 pyramid sachets

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I love this idea, especially for a new baby gift. I have to admit that anything beyond meat and veggies that I could grill or roast was too taxing for me when I was home with new babies…and often even today…but I still love the idea!

http://www.menusandmusic.com/Home_with_Baby_p/005mc.htm

$26.00 for Home With Baby – A collection of simple recipes and a soothing lullaby CD

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http://www.menusandmusic.com/Paris_Cafes_p/002mct.htm

$29.00 for Paris Cafes – A collection of recipes and a music CD from the Heart of Paris Cafes

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http://www.menusandmusic.com/Bistro_p/14cdi.htm

$38.00 for Swinging French Jazz: Favorite Parisian Bistro Recipes and a Jazz music CD

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http://www.menusandmusic.com/Invitation_to_Tea_p/011mc.htm

$26.00 for Invitation to Tea – A collection of tea fare recipes and a relaxing chamber music CD

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http://www.menusandmusic.com/Cooking_with_the_Blues_p/004mc.htm

$26.00 for Cooking With the Blues – A collection of comfort food recipes and a soulful blues CD

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http://www.menusandmusic.com/The_Cocktail_Hour_p/007mc.htm

$26.00 for Cocktail Hour – A collection of party appetizer recipes and a piano jazz music CD

Bake for Two with Cookbook from Old-Mill

When you want to bake for one or two, this cookbook could be the answer. Sometimes the “math” to reduce a recipe is easy, but sometimes you don’t feel like doing the math or a recipe is hard to reduce. Give this a try!

It even comes with a skillet!

http://www.old-mill.com/shop/small-batch-baking-book-skillet-baker-52984

$34.99 for Small-Batch Baking Cookbook & Cornbread Skillet Baker from Old-Mill

Handblown Glass Pens from The Paragon

These look so unique and fun!

I cannot decide if they would be comfortable to write with or not, but at that price I could fake it for looking goooood!

http://www.theparagon.com/product/blue-red-handblown-glass-pen/web-outlet

$6.99 for Handblown Glass Refillable Ink Pens (2 styles to choose from)

Advent Greeting Cards from Vermont Christmas Co.

A family member turned me onto these wonderful Advent Greeting Cards and they would make a wonderful way to send a holiday wish!

Get them early so that they can start from Dec. 1st!!

$2.95 each

Check out the whole selection here:

http://www.vermontchristmasco.com/category/s?keyword=greeting+card+advent+cALENDAR

Plaid Nesting Baskets from The Country Door

http://home-decor.countrydoor.com/search#w=plaid%20basket&asug=

$39.99 for set of 3 Plaid Check Baskets (Red, Black or Buffalo Check)

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Sweet Treats and Gifts for Gals

This may be a bit frivolous but I do have to say that the water dripping down my arm into my sleeve does get annoying. Would I actually use these? I am not sure but it seems like a good idea though.

http://www.femailcreations.com/Drip-Knot-Set-2130309

$25.00 for Drip Not! set – absorbent bands to catch water that drips down arms when washing face and a towel to keep your hair out of the way

From Femail Creations

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Check out these goodies from Miles Kimball’s Candy Shoppe

http://search.mileskimball.com/search?p=Q&ts=custom&w=tea+spoons

$14.99 each, gift box includes 8 spoons, flavors available: clover, lavender or honey & lemon

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I love brittles and even more so when I see a flavor other than peanut!

http://www.mileskimball.com/buy-gingerbread-pecan-brittle-6-oz-349992?icmp=search

$6.99 for 6 oz. Gingerbread Brittle

Maybe for the mail deliverer, garbage collectors or pet sitter?

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http://www.mileskimball.com/buy-old-fashioned-penny-candy-1-lb-314732?icmp=search

$26.99 for 1 lb. collection of Penny Candy

Ahhh…good old nostalgia! 1 cent and 5 cents is what I remember.

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