Sunday, December 2, 2018

2018 Holiday Gift Guide

"firetruck" Baby F's firetruck using the playsilks I mention below. stitch and story

 Family Games

-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.
-This chess/checkers set has been a big hit for the past two years now.
- Stratego The Chronicles Of Narnia (of course any version would do but my girls love Narnia)
- Outfoxed
- Bananagrams
- Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel
- Shut the Box
- Auf Dem Lande (it appears to be unavailable on Amazon right now but you might be able to find it elsewhere reasonably priced)
-Bird Bingo
-Harvest Time
-Birds of Summer

- Baby F (age 2)  Like his siblings before him, Baby F loves Ostheimer wooden animals and people so we are hoping to add a couple more to his collection. Perhaps this Mama bear to go with the baby bear he received last year. His current favorite books are Bunny Roo, I Love You, Llama Llama Red Pajama, Oliver Finds His Way and Mommies Say Shh. He is getting this sweet book this year. These playsilks are used everyday by Baby F as well as L.

- K (age 13) has recently taken an interest in painting so she will be getting this painting set for Christmas this year.
She still loves her own pocket knife and carries it with her wherever she goes knowing it will come in handy. Since reading is her favorite pastime I'll share her two favorite book series: The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings. She has read each series more times than I can count! If you happen to have any Narnia fans in your home this post shares some Narnia related gifts we have given K through the years.

- C (age 10)can not get enough of her St. Therese and Her Family Paper Dolls that St. Nicholas brought. 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). Her and K both love all of the L.M. Montgomery books and the Anne of Green Gables DVD is on K's wish list. this balance board is also a favorite of both her and K...actually, come to think of it L loves it, too!

- Little L (age 7) will tell you that, hands down, his favorite toys (besides his beloved shark stuffed animals) are his set of interlocking blocks and Fagus vehicles (pictures are his excavator, dump truck and conveyor belt). I highly suggest the set of 92 blocks over the smaller set for more building options (and especially if you have more than one child. He also loves wooden trains tracks and trains and as of this year is obsessed with anything John Deere so we are getting him a tractor that resembles the one on our property.

- 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 baby F, too! My children have all been able to transition to big bikes without training wheels thanks to using the Skuut first.

- Some favorite baby and toddler gifts
We have had  these baby blocks since K was a baby and all four of my babies loved them. Baby F received this push wagon for his first birthday. He loves it so much we actually brought it with us to this tiny house. We also brought along his favorite stackers this one and this one, and his nesting bowls. Those four toys are really what he plays with most.
Each one of my children received sheepskins or as we call them "lambies" as babies for sleeping on and later for play. C even used her up until she was about three or four. The ones we have are no longer available but the one I linked too seems very similar. I also made sure to get each one of my babies a teething necklace shortly after they were born. They seem to help with teething pain. All of our children wore these wool overalls as babies and they continue to be one of my favorite cozy wears for Baby F. In fact he is getting a new pair this year for Christmas. I usually pair them with some cozy hand knit booties and a wool long sleeve shirt.

- 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 the boys' 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 home. All three of my older children requested a new package of it for Christmas this year. 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!).

-For the knitter in your life (or yourself) I highly recommend the book No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting.  Also these blocking mats and blocking pins have been a huge help for me the past couple of years.These knitting kits from Stitch and Story have been a big hit in our home and you can get 20% off with code FRONTIER20

- 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. Her new book is just as amazing, too!

- If you know anyone who loves fermenting or wants to try it out I suggest the book Fermented Vegetables. We devour everything I make from this book and have some cranberries fermenting on the counter for Christmas. To go along with it I would suggest some canning jars, and this set to start out with. Another fermentation idea is some water kefir grains. We use simple canning jars for the ferment and then these bottles to make it bubbly afterwards.

-  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.

-For anyone young or old I can't say enough good things about good quality essential oils and a diffuser. Just please remember to exercise caution with all essential oils and really research before using them, especially around children.

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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