Monday, November 29, 2010

The Art of Stuffing a Stocking

Years ago, my husband and I decided to only exchange stocking stuffers at Christmas. I really enjoy this because it requires a little extra thought and creativity. Not only does the gift need to be sentimental and/or useful, but it must be small too...a little extra challenge!

Here are some of my favorite stocking stuffers...

For the baby in your life, the Doidy Cup is an amazing product that eases the transition from bottle to cup without major spills!

For the organizer in your life, Magnutz are super small magnets with UNBELIEVABLE strength.

For the love of your life, the "I'm nuts about you!" key ring says it all. The packaging is simply adorable, and the key ring itself is the perfect size-small enough to be unobtrusive, but big enough to remind your honey how lucky he or she is!

For the cook in your life, a silicon basting brush is a MUST-have!

For the men in your life, try these easy to match dress socks. Once he tries them, he will never go back to traditional gold-toes. Not only are they thin and soft, but they make matching socks fun and SIMPLE!

For the child in your life, include these adorable mini lunch notes.  Nothing is better than finding a fun-loving note in your lunch from someone you love...a guaranteed smile every day of the week!

Please share some of your favorites too! With a little help from each other, we can all have ROCKIN' full stockings this year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

{via Family Fun}   

My daughter and I have been preparing for Thanksgiving all week.  One of my favorite parts of the week was when we made the napkin holders for our Thanksgiving table with my sister and her son. We made a simplified version of the napkin holders pictured above and they turned out GREAT!  We just cut small pieces of felt, made 3 to 4 slits in the felt, weaved a ribbon through the holes, and then glued a variety of buttons over the slits/ribbon.  The kids LOVED picking out the buttons and gluing them down on the felt, and they look wonderful on the table too.  Check them out below; they would make an adorable hostess gift from a child!  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Brrrr! It's cold out there...

I don't know about you, but all I want to do on these brisk November days is curl up on the couch with a cozy blanket and a cup of tea. This blanket from Restoration Hardware is one of my absolute favorites. It is ridiculously soft and snuggly, and surprisingly reasonable in price. It makes the perfect winter birthday, Christmas, or housewarming gift. The best part is that you can personalize the blanket with all sorts of complementary gifts depending on the recipient.

For the tea lover, spice it up with specialty teas like those by Tea Forte.

For the bookworm, inscribe a special book to go with the blanket.

For the chocolate lover, include a bunch of Trader Joe specialty chocolate candies.

For the child-at-heart, wrap up one of the plush teddy bears from RH Baby & Child.

Happy Snuggling!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Give the Gift of Togetherness

Last year, my husband's aunt gave us the most wonderful housewarming advent calendar! But it wasn't just any old advent calendar, it is in the shape of a home, made out of wood, and has a little drawer for each day of advent. It came with a bunch of trinkets and candies to put in each drawer, BUT his aunt asked that I throw those away and to do as her family does, which is to fill each drawer with a little piece of paper that encourages the family to do something together. I was so honored that his aunt decided to share this family tradition with us and look forward to taking our advent calendar out this year and starting the tradition in our home. I know my daughter is going to LOVE it!

I am in the midst of putting together all the family activities for our calendar now. Please share any that you might think of. Here's what I've got so far...

  • Pull out the Christmas cds and sing some Christmas songs together
  • Bake Christmas cookies
  • Set up our nativity
  • Read a Christmas story together
  • Watch Frosty the Snowman together
  • Cut down a tree
  • Decorate the tree
  • Make a special ornament for our tree
  • Cut paper snowflakes to hang on the windows
  • Go ice-skating or sledding together
Any more suggestions???

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cookies & Milk?...Yes, Please!

{via Love & Lavender}

I absolutely LOVE cookies and milk. In fact, my husband refers to me as "his cookie monster," so when I saw this idea for a Cookies & Milk wedding shower on Kara's Party Ideas, I immediately started brainstorming complementary gift ideas. Here's what I came up with so far...

Pink silicon baking sheet from Target+

Love Dish Towel from Spoon Sisters+

Sugar Cookies Book from Amazon+

Wrapped together in clear cello and LOTS and LOTS of ribbon with these
heart-shaped measuring spoons from Spoon Sisters hanging down from the ribbons!

And if you are looking for a less traditional gift, then you might consider surprising this lovely couple with a plate of freshly baked cookies and fresh milk one night on their honeymoon. Who doesn't like a little midnight snack???

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Calling All Bakers, Big and Small

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, why not include your children in the preparation process with some of these FABULOUS baking kits from Your guests are sure to love ALL of these tasty, fun treats, and your children will undoubtedly be more engaged in the special day because they know that they contributed something extra special.

Even better, the owner of bitesizechef has offered a special coupon to all Gift Cow readers. Be sure to enter the coupon code: BSC10OFF50 for $10 off any purchase of $50 or more.

Happy Shopping!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pulled Pork, Anyone?

My husband's birthday was yesterday. As usual, thinking of an extra-special gift was a bit of a challenge. Thankfully, though, he happen to mention last weekend how much he enjoyed one of our friend's pulled pork sandwiches and that's when I had my AH-HA moment...

There is NOTHING my husband enjoys more than watching football on Sunday with his closest friends and family, while chowing down on some tasty snacks. So, I got him a slow-cooker, emailed our friend for her pulled pork recipe (see below), and invited a bunch of our friends over to enjoy pulled pork sandwiches and the games. The whole night was a HUGE HIT!

Pulled Pork Birthday Sandwiches
(serves 14 adults)

8 lb. pork roast on the bone (assume 1/2 lb./person)
1.5 (18 oz.) bottles of your favorite BBQ sauce
2 medium sized onions, sliced thin
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1.5 tablespoons of brown sugar

Cover the bottom of the slow cooker with one sliced onion and garlic. Wash and pat dry the meat. Lay the roast in the slow-cooker on top of the onions and garlic. Mix the brown sugar and bbq sauce together in separate bowl, then pour mixture over the roast in the slow-cooker. Cover top of roast with second, thinly sliced onion. Cover cooker and program to cook for 6 hours ON HIGH. Then, take roast out. Remove some of the fat from the roast, then use a fork to pull meat off bone. Return to cooker for another 2 hours ON HIGH. Enjoy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Nothing's Better than Barefoot

I simply LOVE Barefoot Contessa. I discovered her years ago when my husband's aunt gave me one of her cookbooks for Christmas. It didn't take me long to realize that literally EVERY recipe in her cookbooks is a sure guarantee. Needless to say, I now own almost all of Barefoot's cookbooks (with the exception of Barefoot In Paris) including her newest addition, how easy is that?

Because I enjoy her books and recipes so much, I often like to incorporate her books into my gifts. They work for any occasion if the recipient enjoying entertaining, cooking, and/or baking. To top it off, Barefoot is currently on tour, so you could even add a little extra spunk to your gift with an autographed copy!

One of my favorite Barefoot Contessa's gifts is...

PIZZA PARTY: Parties Cookbook (see page 43) and a pizza stone wrapped in clear cello with lots of colorful ribbon, a tag that says "Pizza Party, p. 43," and an ice cream scoop hanging down from the ribbons.

Any other gift ideas from fellow Barefoot fans???