Category Archives: Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide 2017 – for him

one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight

Slingshot coffee caramels are one of my husband’s favorite treats. He pretty much loves all things coffee so these are a no brainer. He also loves North Carolina beverages like Lassiter Distillery Rum, Conniption Navy Strength Gin and Highland Thunderstruck Coffee Porter. And of course you need something from which to drink all your coffee and adult beverages, we have 2 Yeti Lowball Ramblers that are used every. single. day.

Joe has a pretty epic beard and he keeps it well groomed with Rhett’s Mythical Beard Oil by Beard and Lady. (Also check out the Mythical Pomade) While we’re talking about looking your best don’t forget your feet, Pair of Thieve socks (and underwear) are available at Target.

There are a number of great outdoorsy type things I could list but Joe said his favorite and most used tool when he goes camping is his Estwing hatchet. Although he does love his Therm-a-Rest Sleeping Pad, Black Diamond Moji Lantern and Therm-a-rest Pillow.

Finally, let’s talk technology. Joe travels frequently for work and he always brings along his Roku Streaming Stick so he can binge watch Netflix in his hotel room at night. When he’s home you’ll find him playing Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild on his Nintendo Switch to decompress after a long week of work.

Holiday Gift Guide 2017 – for the boys

one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine

We don’t buy our boys a lot of toys for Christmas because 4 kids times lots of toys equals my house looks like a Toys-R-Us exploded. I tend to lean more towards gifts of experiences which and one day I’d love to surprise the boys with a trip to Disney World for Christmas. But experiences can be smaller too like a trip to Great Wolf Lodge or a local trampoline park or a gift card to your favorite ice cream spot.

However, even though we tend to favor experience gifts it’s also nice for kids to open actual present they can play with on Christmas morning so here are a few of our favorite things we own or will be getting soon.

We are in the digital age and video games are fun and education but good old board games to fun too. My boys always ask for expensive LEGO sets they only build once when all they really want is the mini-figures. Creative play like science experiment kids, cooking, dress up pretend play and trains are always classic. And let’s not forget our favorite books.

*None of these links are sponsored or affiliate links.

Holiday Gift Guide 2017 – My Favorite Things

one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine

I don’t own all of these things on this list but the things I don’t own they are on my wish list and Iwill probably soon own.

I don’t own the Lightweight Cozy Cardigan by A New Day, yet. I love wearing caridgans because it’s a great way to add interest to an outfit and stay warm in the winter months.

I love the dv Roselyn Suede High Top Sneakers from Target. They are only $35 and are super comfy for running around with the kids. I like the taupe color but they also come in navy.

Every single one of the images in this series of art is beautiful (they also have some beautiful coffee greeting cards). I also love all of the jewelry by Windblow jewlery.

The Essie Lady Like color is a perfect wintery pink shade and I just ordered more Glossier (also get brow boy). I also love everything from Good Juju Herbal like their soap, dead sea clay mask and this facial toner.

Finally, I have The Brilliance on repeat pretty much all day. And I just ordered my 2018 calendar from The Lettered Life.

*None of these links are sponsored or affiliate links.


Holiday Finds for Kids at zulily

Zulily is one of my go-to spots for holiday shopping. I log in every morning to see what new deals they are offering. In the past I’ve scored some great deals on Mickey Mouse books/toys, LEGO gift sets, workbooks, shoes for the boys and much more.

This year they have a great daily selection of holiday fashion for kids.

Classic Kids Trends for the Holiday Season from zulily!

zulily_Kids Holiday Fashion_28

From family dinners to the annual holiday card, there are a variety of reasons to get your little ones dressed up this holiday season. Old fashion statements such as smocking, are coming back big this season – thanks to the ever-fashionable Prince George. Today’s smocking looks are made fresh and new with novelty prints and details, but the classic silhouettes remain the same.

For all those parents wondering how to dress their children for the holiday festivities this year, we’ve tapped zulily’s kids fashion expert, Shawn Redman, to compile a few traditional holiday looks to keep your kids stylish this holiday season. Here are her tips:

  • It’s no surprise Smocking is back and better than ever. For example, you’ll see Prince George donning woven, tailored styles that represent an emergence of a more sophisticated look. Pair a smocked tee with pants (or a playsuit for an infant) for a classic holiday look.
  • Bishop Dresses are another timeless silhouette that highlight smocking along the neckline, creating a sweet, softer look. For little girls, I love traditional red Bishop dresses with an embroidered holiday motif on the yoke (i.e. Christmas trees, Santa, poinsettias, snowmen). You can style it with tights and patent leather Mary Janes.
  • Rompers, Playsuits, and Bubbles: These are classic one-piece garments that are perfect festive finery for infants. Style them for girls with a matching hair bow. For Boys, you can pair them with oxfords or slip-ons with knee high socks.
  • John Johns are another classic holiday look for boys. They can be layered with crisp white shirt or turtleneck and paired with lace-up oxfords.

At online retailer zulily, shoppers have something new to discover each morning including apparel & accessories, home décor, toys, gifts and more. Be sure to check back often on or their mobile app to get the best deals for the whole family this holiday season.

zulily_Kids Holiday Fashion_5

This is a compensated post. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and not influenced by the company.

Holiday Shopping at BJs

I love shopping at BJs. I can always get a great deal on things for my large(ish) family. Right now they have a huge selection of toys and kids products that make great gifts for this holiday season.

Here are a few of my favorites:
Photo Nov 28, 1 25 28 PM

This Stary Skies TeePee is adorable and would be loved by all little ones.

Photo Nov 28, 1 26 17 PM

Photo Nov 28, 1 26 22 PM

They have a great selection of LeapFrog products including an awesome deal on the LeapTV. My boys love their LeapTV!


Photo Nov 28, 1 26 39 PM

Photo Nov 28, 1 27 05 PM

Of course there are Legos galore for both boys and girls. And Star Wars. And Ninja Turtles too.


Photo Nov 28, 1 27 56 PM

Photo Nov 28, 1 31 52 PM

The hottest DVDs like Inside Out and a whole collection of Disney films.

Photo Nov 28, 1 28 07 PM

This Princess Ice Castle is amazing. I would have loved this when I was little.

Photo Nov 28, 1 28 12 PM

And these Woodland creature bags are adorable.

Photo Nov 28, 1 30 21 PM

Let’s not forget books. Board books, readers, workbooks, etc…

Photo Nov 28, 1 33 57 PM

I totally bought this Ninja Turtle hoodie for Noah.



Photo Nov 28, 1 24 59 PM

And these there are multiple kinds of art sets.

Photo Nov 28, 1 28 27 PM

Toddler toys are plentiful too.

Photo Nov 28, 1 32 24 PM

Don’t for get clothes. Cute little clothes. From jammies to dresses and pants and shoes.

And these are just a few of the great in-store options they have. There are even more available online ready for home delivery.

BJ’s Top Ten Toys this Holiday Season

Toys in Motion
1. Peg Perego Choo Choo – BJs calls “all aboard” for this Ride-On Train that comes with a 76″ circle track, 6V rechargeable battery and charger. Ages 18M – 3 Years; 219.99 after $30 Instant Savings 11/5 – 12/7/15. At Only (Delivered)
2. Fisher-Price Little People Activity Airplane or Music ‘N Motion Ride-On – for great interactive play especially for little ones. Ages 1 – 3 Years; $32.99. In-Club Only
3. Fisher Price Grow With Me Rocker – gives babies their own special seat to sit and play. Includes soft toy bar with three toys and bat-at activated music. Ages infant – toddler.  $34.99. In-Club $39.99 At Only (Delivered)
Make Some Noise
4. BJ’s Kids 10 in -1 Music Combo – Nothing sounds happier than a toddler symphony and with ten instruments in one, this combo will bring ear-to-ear smiles.  Ages 12 – 36 months; $26.99. In-Club or at
5. Little Tikes Pop Tunes Guitar – Preset tunes and rockin’ riffs and LED lights turn toddlers into rock stars. Ages 2 Years+; $16.99; In-Club or at
6. B. Parum Pum Pum Drum & Instrument Set – Get toddlers ready for their drum solo with this combination set including drum, maraca, tambourine, jingle bell and drumsticks. Ages 18M+; $19.99. In-Club or at
7. Summer Infant 3-in-1 SuperSeat – It’s fun x 3 for little ones to play and enjoy hours of play with 4 playful toys and 2 cup holders complete the tray. Ages 4 months – 4 years; Green/Orange/Blue or Purple/Pink/Blue; $34.99 In-Club; $39.99 at (delivered)
Play Along with Favorite Characters
8. Paw Patrol OR Cinderella Inflatable Playland – With 20 Balls and large crawl-through openings, this wonderful wonderland brings hours of fun. Ages 2 Years+; $24.99 In-Club Only
9. My First Disney Princess Baby – BJ’s Exclusive – An assortment of soft, huggable dolls watch with its own tiara and brush. Ages 2 Years+; $17.99 In-Club Only
Fun to Learn
10. Fisher Price Discover ’n Grow Kick & Play Piano Gym – gives littlest ones a place to grow strong, discover and play. Comfy mat is a great place to lay and kick at the piano keys or reach, bat and grasp 5 fun activity toys. Ages newborn+; $39.99 (after Clipless Coupon).  In-Club or at

Not a BJ’s Member? Shoppers can visit to print a Free 60-Day Membership offer to present at the member services desk at their local club. Once enrolled, shoppers will receive a membership card and full member benefits. Consumers will have the opportunity to shop and find unexpected, top quality items throughout the club this holiday season. Shoppers can sign-up for the Free 60-Day Membership through December 31.

This is a compensated post. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and not influenced by the company.

Ring It! from Blue Orange – Game Review

The creator of the popular Spot it! games, Blue Orange Games, has a fun new game that makes the perfect gift this holiday season, Ring It!


Ring It! is a fun for kids ages 5 and up (2 – 9 players) Clap and ring your way to victory! Players continuously flip their cards until a combo is found. Be the first to find the combo, clap your hands and ring the bell. Hesitation may cost you 1st place, but if you act too quickly you may make a mistake and face a penalty!

This game helps children enhance their visual perception, maintain focus and attention, and increases their processing speed.


Jude loved the fast pace thinking and decision making that this game required. He often struggles with maintaining his attention but because this game specifically requires you to stay focus and mentally engaged he loved it because it challenged him in multiple way. My 4 year old, Noah, also enjoyed playing this game since he knows is colors and can easily identify his numbers.

Ring It! would make a great stocking stuffer this Christmas!

Ring It! is available online and at select retailers across the country.
Price: $14.99

I was provided a featured product free of charge but all opinions are 100% mine.


2 Must-Have Christmas Picture Books

We love sitting around the fire at night reading Christmas stories before bed. Each year we read some of our old favorites and add in some new festive stories. This year we’re excited to be adding two great pictures book from Sky Pony Press.

The Runaway Santa: A Christmas Adventure Story by Anne Margaret Lewis (author) and Aaron Zenz (illustrator) is a sweet and endearing story of relationships, adventure, and following one’s dreams.

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 3.50.55 PM

I adore this simple and colorfully illustrated book that follow Santa on a sight-seeing adventure around the world.

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 3.51.12 PM

And the boys are in love with this creative depiction of an all time classic Christmas story, The Night Before Christmas: A Brick Story. Written by by Clement C. Moore (author) and Amanda Brack (illustrator) this is a fresh take on a holiday classic and is perfect for LEGO and Christmas lovers alike.


Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 3.50.27 PM

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 3.50.40 PM Both of these are great fun reads for this upcoming holiday season. I’m sure I will read each of these books so many time I lose count but joy in my boys’ eyes will make each time a special Christmas memory for our family.


The Night Before Christmas: A Brick Story – $10.99

The Runaway Santa: A Christmas Adventure Story – $15.99

I received the featured products complementary to review for this post. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by the company.

Reaching Childhood Milestones with VTech #giveaway

One thing I love about VTech Toys is the care they take when developing toys for young children. Having 3 young boys with 1 on the way we have accumulated a lot of toys over the years. It’s always interesting to see which toys each boy prefers, this is heavily due to their level of development and their preferred interests. I’m learning that just because my son loves dinosaurs not all dinosaur toys are appropriate for his age and skill level.


Each child develops in their own unique way and how they interact and play with their toys is relative to their developmental. VTech works closely with a group of children’s learning experts on the development of their infant and preschool learning products. Insights from these experts provide parents with the information needed to understand their child’s development so they can choose appropriate games and toys.

The VTech Milestones resource is designed to give parents an insight into the 3 main areas of childhood development:

  1. Language and Cognitive
  2. Social and Emotional Development
  3. Physical and Motor

The VTech Milestone site is a useful resource for parents to gain information on their child’s development and which VTech products best suit their needs.

The VTech Expert Panel is comprised of six children’s learning experts including Dr. Lise Eliot, Early Childhood Mental Development Expert.
Dr. Lise Eliot is Associate Professor of Neuroscience at The Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science. A Chicago native, she received an A.B. degree from Harvard University, a Ph.D. from Columbia University, and did post-doctoral research at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. In addition to more than 50 published peer-reviewed journal articles and magazine pieces on children’s brain and mental development, Dr. Eliot has authored two books.

Here is an example of the toys offered from VTech and their recommended age range based on developmental milestones.

Lil’ Critters Play & Dream Musical Piano
Ages 0-12 months
MSRP $24.99

 Lil' Critters Play & Dream Musical Piano

Roll & Surprise Animal Train
Ages 6-36 months
MSRP: $15.99

 Roll & Surprise Animal Train

Chomp & Count Dino
Ages 12-36 months
MSRP: $19.99

Chomp and Count Dino

Follow @VTechToys on Twitter
Like VTech on Facebook

VTech Milestone Gift Pack

One lucky reader will win VTech Milestone Gift Pack including the 3 toys featured above. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Ends 12/1/14. US Residents Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends on December 1, 2014. The winner will be chosen using and announced on this post. Entrants must be 18 or older. Winner to be chosen at random. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. See giveaway rules for more information. US Residents Only.

The VTech product, information, and giveaway have been provided by VTech.