Gifts for Em

12 December 2017

Hi friends! Argh, I was hoping to have written a couple posts between my goals post and this one — so much good stuff to talk about in December! But, life calls, and here we are :) My family arrives for an early Christmas celebration today (YAY!!), so I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for another post until next week — but hopefully we’ll be able to catch up then, because I still want to talk about generosity, how I’ve done on my 2017 focal areas, our Christmas cards, and our home’s Christmas decor. Plus, of course, there will be my annual year-in-review post post-Christmas!

But today, I thought I’d share a few things on my personal Christmas wish list. I was so honored when my friend Victoria gave me a sweet gift guide shout-out last week. If you’re still shopping, hopefully you’ll find something fitting here or on a previous guide!

For Sisters, Moms, and Best Friends
Kind-Hearted Picks
Parents, Grandparents, and In-Laws
Your Favorite Kids

gifts for em

A Patagonia | The time has come for a new fluffy fleece. I think I like this one, but I haven’t tried it on in person yet! Anyone have personal experience with this model?
Colorful magnets | You can never have too many! Love these colors. Perfect stocking stuffer :)
A Christmas pyramid | This is totally a sentimental pick! My family had one of these growing up and they bring me right back to sitting around our kitchen table at Christmas. Full disclosure: my parents have already gifted this to me and June is OBSESSED :)
Salad serving bowl | A big salad bowl is one thing we missed out on from our wedding registry. I’d love one for bigger friend gatherings or family dinner parties!
Liberty spreaders | These could not be sweeter! I wish they had better reviews, though!
Holiday plate | Future cookies for Santa plate? :) Every family needs a few Christmas plates, yes?
Bamboo dish rack | I feel like this would be kind of a strange gift, but I really love this to clean up our counter a bit, so it’s going on the list!
More plates | If I collect anything, it’s probably china, and I’d love to add these beauties to the crew.
Blush napkins | We use cloth napkins every night, and I’d love to add these into the rotation!
Gift stickers | My preferred present palette – hard to find!
Scalloped baskets | I think these would be just as fitting in an adult space as a kiddo one! I’m not sure yet where I’d use them, but I know I would find the perfect spot :)

What’s on the top of your list this year? I always get inspiration from what others are wishing for!

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December 2017 goals

1 December 2017

Well, I knocked my hardest goal from November — abstaining from dessert — out of the park. YEAH! Other than that, though, my progress was pretty dismal… two weeks of sickness plus two different family visits plus Thanksgiving will do that to a girl!

Instead of rolling over the goals I didn’t finish to the next month as I usually do, I’m tabling most of them until January. I want my schedule to be as free as possible to focus on my most important goal for December: loving people well in the name of the tiny baby who came to love all of us two thousand years ago, the one who taught us to love others. Amen!

P.S. On the subject of goals, I love using the PowerSheets to track my professional goals (and sometimes personal ones, too). You’ll be hearing a lot about them on my Instagram next week as I begin to go through the prep work, and I’m planning to post here with some progress, as well!

A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars

My brother-in-law’s book!!!

What I read in November:
Prayer (By the one and only Tim Keller. Loving it so far!)
— Books I’m reading throughout the year: The Power of a Praying Wife and The Lifegiving Home

Revisiting my goals for November:
Organize our pantry (No… moving to January!)
Cozy up our guest bedrooms and upstairs bathroom in prep for Christmas visitors
Sort through all the “to be framed/hung” pieces in the loft and DO SOMETHING WITH THEM (Half check – sorted!)
Find general practitioners for John and myself and make appointments (Half check – found them, haven’t made appointments)
Post gift guides before Black Friday
File all paperwork in blue room (This actually will get done in December in prep for our guests!)
Abstain from dessert
Start a life list book (Bought the book on Black Friday and waiting for it to arrive!)

December goals:
— Finalize Christmas decor and execute (I haven’t done ANYTHING yet! Yikes!)
— Plan my family’s early Christmas visit (including a surprise mini birthday party for my niece!)
— Set our 2018 budget
— Go out to dinner with John for our 2017 review and celebration
— File all paperwork in blue room
— Finalize and print our Christmas newsletter and send out our Christmas cards with love (and personal notes!)
— Decide on a plan for June’s second birthday
— Love on our trash and recycling guys, our vet, and June’s teachers
Give away as much as we spend on Christmas gifts in our church’s Christmas Eve offering

I’d love to hear, friends: What are your goals for this month? What are you most looking forward to?

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Christmas Gift Guide: Your Favorite Kids

27 November 2017

Want to know something I love about buying kid gifts? You can give them something that’s $5 and look like you hung the moon :) (Case in point: this ribbon twirler we gave my niece last Christmas.) And of course, I also love giving heirloom-quality gifts that they might one day pass down to their own kids! Today’s gift guide has picks from each column, including some things that are on June’s wish list this year. My friend Sam helped me with some of the boy picks, since she has firsthand experience!

Buckle up – it was hard to narrow down my picks, so today we have not one but TWO boards of ideas!

gift guide for kids

Pajamas | Bonus points if you can match amongst multiple kiddos or cousins! I also love these ones and these ones.
Squirrel popper | Just make sure they don’t shoot their eye out :) A certain nephew of mine will be getting one of these this Christmas!
Pennants | Choose from “capable & courageous” or “strong & smart” – either way, you can’t go wrong!
Wooden cutting fruit set | I clearly remember being gifted something similar from my grandma one Christmas and loving it. On June’s wish list this year!
Cozy sweatshirt | Sam and I both love everything from Winter Water Factory, and this print is a favorite we share!
Mini scooter | If our neighborhood is any indication, scooters are very big right now. This mini one is on June’s wish list, and though I think it will take her a few months to grow into it, I expect she’ll be scooting around like a pro this summer!
Quilt | The sweetest print from a cool Indian company.
Floor puzzle | The colors and illustrations take this classic puzzle up a notch.
Bruder toys | From Sam: “The model-sized toys are great for little guys! We have a cement mixer, fire truck, and crane, and I feel that they will still be fun for Perry to play with even as he gets older.”
Tegu blocks | Wooden blocks upgraded with magnets, in beautiful colors! Blocks are on J’s wish list this year, but I think we might go with this set.
Star Wars visual dictionary | Have a Luke fan in your house? I feel like this would go over super well. Plus, it seems like little kids are surprisingly VERY into very detailed books, like this one or this one.
Play tent | The dreamiest pattern combinations from the one and only Minted! On June’s list.
The softest dress | Marget got June the sweetest dress from this shop last Christmas, and we stretched that puppy as long as possible, transitioning it from a dress to a shirt! :) It doesn’t look like her star pattern is in stock anymore, but any of their prints would make a great gift!

gift guide for kids

Winter Water Factory dress | The best prints in organic cotton.
Memory game | Customized with family photos! I’ve done these for June, Tegan, and Wes so far and they are always a hit!
Home of the brave pennant | A rallying cry for everyone in the family.
United States blocks | An absolutely gorgeous set of wooden blocks that helps kids learn state shapes, capitals, mottos, birds, flowers, and trees!
Dollhouse | Bless Pottery Barn for making simple, chic, neutral toys that kids AND mamas can love.
Bow tie | From Sam: “Perry loves his bow tie, especially because he is able to match his dad!”
Tree swing | If you have the right tree in your yard, this looks SO fun. I am always in favor of something that gets kids outside! This one is MUCH more expensive, but if you don’t have the tree, could be an option!
Plasma car | Another neighborhood favorite! These things can really zoom.
Boxer briefs | The softest underwear with the cutest prints.
Baby doll | I have looked for weeks to find a sweet first doll for June, and I think this is the one!
Giant coloring poster | And I mean GIANT. So many fun designs!
Puzzle to go | From Sam: “We love these travel puzzles! They are easy to transport and we love bringing them along when we are traveling or when we are waiting for our meal at a restaurant.”
Kwix Stix | Quick drying tempura paint markers, going in June’s stocking! Thanks, Jo!
Three great books: City Atlas, Trucks Go, and A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars (written by my BROTHER-IN-LAW!!!).
Little aprons | The best patterns, and they can be personalized! Would be a perfect gift for nieces and nephews!

Whew!! I hope that was more helpful than overwhelming! :) How are y’all doing with Christmas shopping? I’m about halfway done, I think, and hoping to check a few more names off today!

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Christmas Gift Guide: Parents, Grandparents, and In-Laws

24 November 2017

What to get the people who have everything they want and likely more money than you do? :) First, I have to say that many of the gift ideas in the gals gift guide and the upcoming guys gift guide work for this group — after all, parents and grandparents are people, too, and my Mom likes pretty much everything I do!

For this gift guide, though, most picks fall into two categories: either something sentimental, or an upgrade/replacement for something they already have. Again, if your parents are like mine, they have not replaced their oven mitts/Christmas decorations/baking sheets in 30 years. And we love them for it. But sometimes things need to be replaced :)

P.S. I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings!!

gift guide for grandparents

Boat and tote | Not a New Englander? Then maybe you will get the honor of introducing your loved one to L.L. Bean’s iconic bag! They can be monogrammed for an extra touch.

Striped pot holders | There are a lot of gems in the Hearth & Hand collection, but I love these simple pot holders! Swap out her stained ones for a new pair.

Echo Dot | Know your audience with tech gifts, but they can make great gift ideas because a) they may not be something the recipient would buy for himself, and b) you will hopefully be there in person to show him how to set it up or use it!

Keepsake Kitchen Diary | This is actually on my wish list! It has space to write in 150 recipes and the stories that accompany them. Not-so-secret-side-benefit: maybe one day your Mom will pass it down to you!

Ceramic spoon rest | A kitchen essential that’s classic and clean. Maybe pair this with the pot holders?

Potted paperwhites | If you’re new to the in-law rodeo, a growing gift is usually a good option. For a much smaller version at a lower price point, I’ve seen pretty options at Trader Joe’s!

Scalloped pot | In the same vein, a pretty pot filled with either a potted plant or a gift certificate to an online nursery (we like White Flower Farm) is a go-to. (The pot shown from Jenny is sold out right now, but this hanging basket is another good option!)

Faux magnolia wreath | A timeless option for their front door or mantel. I’ve purchased faux plants from Magnolia before and have been impressed with the quality!

365 Calendar | This is like those tear-off calendars that used to be all the rage (cute kittens, inspiring quotes, etc.) BUT way better because every day is customized with your photos! I don’t know about y’all, but my parents would LOVE a new photo of their grandkids (and kids!) every day.

A coffee table book | On a subject they are or might soon be interested in. Two good options: Portraits of Courage, whose proceeds support veteran causes and that brought me to tears, and The National Parks, for soaring images and stories from Ken Burns.

A Lindsay Letters holiday canvas | If your parents aren’t of the social media persuasion, introduce them to LL and look like a genius! Any of her holiday canvases would help spruce up a Christmas decor collection. (I also like this metal wreath!)

A fun food item | If you’re truly stumped or your parents insist they “don’t want any more things,” food it is. Bonus points for getting them something yummy but special, or with a story behind it. My father-in-law loves pates, and I’m pretty sure he will be getting this award-winning one this Christmas. Toss in a beautiful platter, tray, or spreaders if you’re feeling daring :)

Other solid ideas: tickets to a show or a gift certificate for a favorite restaurant, a cooking school lesson, or a fly fishing lesson. (These are not cop-out ideas! Experiences make awesome gifts!)

I’d love to hear: What gifts for grands and parents have you been proud of in the past? I have to say, I’m pretty excited about a semi-DIY gift for my in-laws I’m working on this year, but I can’t share it yet! :)

More gift guides:
Sisters, Moms, and Best Friends
Kind-Hearted Picks

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