Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Gift Giving Ideas

L's favorite blocks
Pionner homestead drying rack (Advent clearing and cleaning)
St. Therese paper dolls from Saint Nicholas

I have had quite a few emails lately asking me for gift ideas. It seemed like a big enough request that I should go ahead and do a post with some ideas I have. Honestly, I don't have a lot, but I hope it is somewhat helpful to you! I apologize to my friends celebrating Chanukah as this list is too late. Please forgive me. Hopefully I can get this up in a more timely fashion next year! All of the gifts I am listing are things my family and I truly love and get lots of use from. Some of the links are Amazon affiliate links which means that if you choose to make a purchase, you are being a blessing to us as we will receive a small percentage of the sale. All of these proceeds made help out our family with homeschooling, or other extremely meaningful teachings that my children would not have otherwise. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.

- My girls can not get enough of their St. Therese and Her Family Paper Dolls that St. Nicholas brought them. There are so many dolls and outfits in that book that he actually split them up and they received half of them last year and the other half this year. I laminated them all to keep them safe from younger siblings (K still recalls an incident with two year old C biting the heads off of her Little House paper dolls).

- Little L will tell you that, hands down, his favorite toy (besides his beloved shark stuffed animals) is his set of interlocking blocks. I highly suggest the set of 92 over the smaller set for more building options (and especially if you have more than one child. The girls are always stealing his blocks building with him). In fact, he loves them so much my Mom is getting him an additional set this year for Christmas.

- We bought K a Skuut wooden balance bike when she was around 2 years old and it has lasted  through the rough riding of all three of my children (each of them riding it for about three years, from age two to age five when we get them a regular bike with pedals).  It's still in good enough shape that it will be passed down to our next baby, too! My children have all been able to transition to big bikes without training wheels thanks to using the Skuut first.

- Safe, good quality art supplies are very important to our family. They encourage endless artistic expressions. Giving children lesser quality supplies only leads to frustration when they can not create what they are envisioning in their heads due to what they are using. Not only that, the good quality supplies last longer. We have had the same sets of Stockmar block crayons and stick crayons since K was a toddler and they are still going strong. I did, however, purchase both of the girls special sets for homeschooling just to keep them nicer and out of L's hands. We use Stockmar paint for all of our painting (and I also used it when I lazured the girls' bedroom walls back in Oregon). Stockmar modeling beeswax is a staple in our homeschooling as well as one of C's favorite things to play with. For colored pencils, we prefer Lyra triangular giants. Their colors and blending capabilities are spectacular and their triangular shape promotes proper grip.

- Speaking of artistic endeavors, both C and K love to needlefelt and wet felt with wool. This kit from Nova is a great starter kit for children (or even adults!).

- Hanna Andersson organic pajamas are a favorite amongst all my children. I used to buy them at their outlet store in Oregon but now I just wait for the good sales. These are the only pajamas that can hold up to my children's rough wear and even be passed down to the next sibling (this baby will be wearing pajamas that all three of it's older siblings wore!). We have tried other pajamas here and there but they can never hold up for more than a couple of months.

- We all enjoy playing Wildcraft as a family. It's fun enough to entertain everyone while teaching us all about the uses for many common herbs at the same time. K is receiving Bananagrams as a gift this year and L is receiving Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel. Our friends in Oregon had these games and my children had a blast playing them. C will be getting Shut the Box. She played this at a local event and didn't want to stop.

- Last year my children all received these breakfast boards for Christmas. They use them everyday and love caring for them with hand washing and monthly beeswaxing.

- Words can not say how much I love my Pioneer drying rack. Before I had this I was using cheap, poor quality metal drying racks that would rust or break within months of use. Not only that but they were never big enough to hold all that I needed to dry. I was constantly replacing them (and the clothing they ruined). But the Pioneer is the perfect size for my growing family and such good quality that I think I will be passing it down to my children in the future.

- The Oh She Glows Cookbook is by far my favorite cookbook. I have had it a couple of years now and I still use the recipes in it on almost a daily basis.

-  My whole family uses Klean Kanteen water bottles on a daily basis (I even bought one for my Mom). We use different sizes, depending on the person, from the sippy cup up to the 40 oz bottle. We stick with the simple brushed stainless instead of the painted ones because I have found that the paint eventually chips off of those ones.

- Kevin would surely list dog gear here. If there is any interest I can get him to share his favorite things with you.

Goodness, I actually came up with a lot more than I expected. I'll let you know if I think of anything else. If you are looking for age specific suggestions and or have any questions - ask away!

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