Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Holiday Gift Ideas: My Favorite Things

Okay, I admit it; I've been listening to Neil Diamond Holiday station on Pandora for a couple weeks now. Andi overheard me the other day, raised an eyebrow and said, "A little early, isn't it?" Eh, I disagree. Christmas music makes me happy. Why not enjoy it for a few extra weeks?

It's not like I put up my Christmas tree ... yet. No shame for those who've started decorating; if it weren't for Aden's birthday this week I probably would've, too. I ordered my Christmas cards this week, and I began plotting advent calendar ideas into our December happenings. Fun takes planning!

Planning ahead means I've also started shopping for Christmas gifts. We're driving to Nebraska for Thanksgiving next week, and my goal is to bring gifts for anyone we won't be spending the holidays with this year (vs. shipping them to my parent's house in December). All this gift-buying has me thinking about some of my own favorite things. In my opinion, the best gifts come with a referral -- "I tried this, I love it, and I know you will too!"

In the spirit of Christmas (and Oprah!), here's a few of my favorite things:

Heat Holders Winter Socks

Winter is coming, and so are the cold temperatures. I live in these socks during the cold weather months (so, in Minnesota, basically November - May). My feet are always cold, and these socks warm them right up!

Snoozie Slippers

Speaking of cold feet ... if I'm not wearing my Heat Holder socks, I'm usually wearing my Snoozie slippers. My mom gave me a pair of these slippers a few years ago, and they're ridiculously ugly (the patterns!) but so comfortable. I have two pairs -- one for home, one for the cabin.

Tervis Cup (with Straw Lid)

I am obsessed with my Tervis tumbler. I like it because it keeps my water cold and doesn't spill when the cup's knocked over. Tervis comes in two sizes (16oz. and 24oz.) and has two lid options. I prefer the 24oz. tumbler with straw lid because I personally drink more water when it's through a straw. That's just me, though. Andi likes the 16oz. size with regular lid for coffee and/or cocktails.

Electric Wine Bottle Opener

This is possibly the best invention ever. I (happily? sadly?) use my electric wine bottle opener quite often. We've owned a few different ones, but I like this brand/version best.

Brownie Pan

My mom gave me this brownie pan for a gift last year and while I don't use it daily, I do love having it in my baking arsenal. It's perfect for making my favorite homemade granola bars, as well as brownies or other dessert bars.

Mesh Strainer

This was one of those silly purchases that has made my life so much easier. Why didn't I buy one of these sooner?! I use my mesh strainer every day to drain boiled noodles, canned fruit, homemade chicken stock, and more. Seriously, love it!

I Love Mom mug

Andi gave me this mug for Mother's Day a few years ago, and I love drinking my coffee out of it. I don't know why, but it makes me smile.

Cheese Knife

Andi's sister Lindsay jokes that every time she visits us at the cabin, we serve a cheese plate. Well, seriously, who doesn't love cheese? Andi and I discovered this cheese knife a few years ago and it's the best invention for cutting cheese ... or any food with a weird texture (i.e.: hard boiled eggs). The plastic blade slices right through cheese without any of it getting stuck on the blade. Magic!

DSLR Camera Strap 

I love taking pictures of my kids (#1 subjects!) but I rarely have an extra hand to hang onto my camera while I'm chasing after them. Love this strap for my DSLR camera because it keeps my camera secured by my side, and allows me to draw the camera up and shoot quickly as it slides along the cross-body sling.

JJ Cole Picnic Blanket

I use this all-purpose blanket every single day in the summer for trips to the park, picnics, outdoor concerts, etc. Spills wipe off the material easily, and sand and dirt just shake off. Best of all, it folds up nicely into itself with a carrying strap so I throw it over the stroller handle and go.

*Amazon affiliated picture links


  1. Added that camera strap to my wish list! That's perfect! You know how many times I've almost knocked my kid out by a heavy swinging camera coming at their head by only using the neck strap? Lol

  2. oooh loving that picnic blanket. need!
    I don't have a dslr but I have one of those scarf straps for my camera. I knock Aria in the face way too often. Poor kid. Cross - body? genius!
    Does the brownie pan make it so you have lots of crispy edges? I always prefer the soft middles and leave the edges behind lol.

  3. The sling strap is the best. I love mine especially since it takes some of the weight off your neck that a regular strap gives you.