Fun & Fabulous Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day happens on June 17th, so here are some gift ideas that I showed in my segment today on the Your Life Arizona morning showMany are sold at local retailers for good last minute ideas.  I also found some unique ones that can be ordered, so take a look at this now so you have time to get your Dad’s Day shopping done.

Unique Ideas:

*Customize something fun specific to Dad – I ordered this burnt orange T-shirt from Tee Chip for my Texas Longhorn alum hubs.  This shirt says it all and I am excited for him to see it on Father’s Day as I think it is perfect, comfortable, fun and this theme fits him perfectly! 

I ordered this from Tee Chip for $26.95 and I had no issues with the company, but I found a lot of reviews that complained of long shipping delays, so please note that I only ordered from Tee Chip once and had no problems, but others did.  You could do something similar for the father you are shopping for with his alma mater printed like this one with other customized gift companies.  I found a ton of companies that do this kind of stuff online.  Or go to one of the As You Wish locations and create something like this there on a mug, etc.

*Make Dad a customized drink kit – Pair his favorite coffee, tea and/or scotch, whiskey, etc. in a basket and add the HyperChiller(sells at site for $29.99).The HyperChiller turns any beverage into a perfectly cooled drink in one minute without ever touching ice.

Photo of this cool device, that is a perfect Dad’s Day gift is from the HyperChiller website.

With the HyperChiller’s simple multi-chamber design, a beverage is exposed to the equivalent of over 30 large ice cubes.  The drink is then protected by two layers of food grade stainless steel.  This way there’s zero dilution in the process of cooling. Just leave it in your freezer, then take it out, pour your beverage in (coffee, wine, spirits etc.) and the HyperChiller will rapidly chill it in just one minute. This handy device can be used several times in a row.  When done, place back in the freezer to use again later. It’s compatible with all brewing methods and even fits directly into most full-size single cup brew.   

*Make Dad a Manly Spa Basket – Place his favorite soaps, shaving products, a nice bath robe and more in a specialty spa kit for him!  Add slippers, a gift card for a massage, a bottle of wine, healthy herbal teas or a gift card to a spa store.  I kept mine simple, as you can see below…Olba’s Herbal Remedies Olbas Oil and Olbas Inhaler is included in my gift basket for a good massage oil and inhaler that helps to clear sinuses.  The oil is great for massage and I like the Olba brand because it doesn’t smell feminine, making it perfect for Dad.  Olbas originated in Switzerland over 100 years ago and is made with a blend of six essential oils including peppermint oil, wintergreen oil, oil of cloves, juniper oil, eucalyptus oil and cajeput oil.  The Olbas Herbal Remedies Aromatherapy Inhalant and Massage Oil .95 fluid oz bottle sells for $19.95 here.

*Camping Gift Kit – Create a basket with camping items. Pack with his favorite camping essentials and his tried and true camping faves.  Other ideas are…

 

*Yoshi Copper Grill & Bake Mats ($9.99 for a 2-pack sold at amazon, Walmart, Walgreens) — Give the dad who likes to grill these handy mats that enabling grilling without the food falling through the grate.  Foods still have grill marks, too.  The mats still must be cleaned, but not the grill.  Perfect for the camping gift kit and for an outdoor or cooking/grilling themed gift.

*iHome Drop Splashproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker with Speakerphone – I paid $24.99 for this at Walgreens, BUT I found it for only $11.99 at Groupon.com so definitely check that site for Dad’s Day gift savings.  That is 50% savings.  This handy contraption pairs with your smart device to provide a wireless speaker and speaker phone.  It is splash proof, so it works by the pool (not immersed, though), in the shower and out in the rain.  A great gift to pair with a camping kit.

*The Mini Fire Fighter product.  I do want to say that I haven’t personally tried this product, so I haven’t tested it myself.  So do keep a fire extinguisher on hand.  Check out what this compact user-friendly aerosol firefighting product does.  It is safe, easy to use and tested to EU and USA standards. Mini Firefighter is an essential safety tool to have around the home, the car, in the caravan, near the BBQ, in the toolbox, on the boat or in fact anywhere there is a risk of a fire.  Mini Firefighter is non-toxic, non-irritant and biodegradable which can be used with care in confined spaces.  It’s high cooling capacity forms a stable, heat resistant seal which suffocates the fire stopping re-ignition and turning fat and oil into a soapy mixture.

Picture from the Mini Firefighter website.

Mini firefighter is also easy to clean up as the foam dissolves after use.  I think all households should have this on hand and it makes for a fun and smart addition to Dad’s Fun Thank You-Do-It all gift basket!  The 8.45 oz can sells for $19.50 here.

Last Minute Easy to Get Gift Ideas

These items are sold at some drug stores, Amazon and other local retailers, so this is stuff that you can grab last minute locally…

*Jumbo Moscow Mule Mug ($10.99 at Walgreens) – Moscow Mule cocktails continue to be all the rage and my husband loves to make these, so I got him this fun jumbo sized one for Dad’s Day!  Pair with the ingredients needed to make a mule and this makes a fun gift basket idea. 

*Crafted Imports Bar Set – ($12.99 at Walgreens) – This is great alone or pair with the fun jumbo Moscow Mule mug.

*I know a HERO**I call him DADDY block sign – ($9.99 at AJ’s Fine Foods) – This sweet red, white, blue and yellow sign is a block that can sit on his desk or can be hung on the wall.  A great one from a child to Daddy.

*Crafted Imports Golf Pens ($9.99 at Walgreens) – Pair this set of three golf club shaped pens with a golf store gift card.  Perfect!

*Why A Daughter Needs A Dad & Why A Son Needs A Dad little mini books – ($5.99 each at AJ’s Fine Foods gift section) – These precious little mini books include passages like, “A daughter needs a dad so she will know what it feels like to be somebody’s favorite.”  The son book includes touching phrases like, “A son needs a dad to let him be his equal now and then.”  These little books melt my heart and I bet they will melt a father’s heart, too.

*Hallmark All Star Grandpa Baseball ($9.99 at Walgreens) – Ten bucks and fun alone or if you want to go big, give this to Grandpa along with tickets to a major league baseball game! 

*Signature Greeting Cards Best Dad Ever with removable koozie – Check stores that sell greeting cards for this fun one that includes a koozie.  Pair with his favorite beer and your gift is all set.  I found this card for $8.99 at Walgreens.

*Grasslands Road I Love That You’re My Dad Frame ($17.99 at AJ’s Fine Foods) – Beautiful ceramic/metal frame that fits a treasured 4 x 6 picture for Dad.  This is a great one for the sentimental Dad or Grandpa who loves photos.

*Hallmark Super Dad Trophy ($9.99 at Walgreens) – Perfect from a kid to a Dad this cute trophy has the father wearing a cape. 

Did I list any ideas that fit the father in your life?  I am wishing all a Happy Dad’s Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marvelous Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, so here are some fun, festive, sweet and unique Mom’s Day gift ideas!  Some can be ordered just in time for Mom’s Day and others are available at your local drug store.  Plus there are two hot brands, Tory Burch and philosophy that are now sold in a drug store!  Read on to get the scoop and some gift ideas for Mom.  I showed this stuff in my 3TV morning show segment on the Your Life Arizona show and the hosts and producers loved all of the items!

Take a look.  Here is what I showed with links and all the details…

Vacation Theme Gift Idea

Give Mom a vacation themed gift basket that helps her prepare for the anticipated and upcoming family summer vacation.  Stuff a fun beach bag from Pinkly Perfect that says Take Me To The Beach ($26 at pinklyperfect.com) with the very cool sweatshirt from Pinkly Perfect that sports the fun phrase, Peace, Love, Wine, Vacation that also sells at Pinkly Perfect for $48.  Speaking of perfect, this super cute sweatshirt is perfect for the breezy summer nights at the beach.  Other fun vacation themed items that can be added or given alone is the KiKiSol white sleeveless embroidered tunic (sells for $60) that is a beautiful swimsuit cover up or can also be worn as a summer fashion piece paired with shorts or leggings.  This piece is versatile and pretty and works with the summer vacation gift theme idea.   I also love the pink Capitola tank that says Beach Bound and sells for $24 at Pinkly Perfect.

Treasured Jewelry Theme

Give her a necklace that will make her think of you every time she wears it because this pretty piece of jewelry features a reversible and versatile crystal centerpiece that says LOVE on the other side.  Plus, the length on this pretty necklace can be adjusted to wear as a choker to a long rope.

Great gift idea that sells for only $24 at KIS-Jewelry.com. Other mom jewelry that I showed in the 3TV segment from KIS-Jewelry include the pink Rose Quartz Genuine Stone Statement Bracelet that says “LOVED” that sells for $24 and the Expandable Wire Bangle With Mom Charm that is on sale for $13.50 on the site.  Great deal for a pretty bracelet that sports four charms that say; “Mom” “You are loved” “LOVE YOU” “FOREVER” “BEST” and “WORLDS”.

Beauty Themed Gift From Line That Will Touch Her Heart

A fun beauty line that has perfect beauty products for Mom is called Beauty Bakerie. With cleverly named items like Flour Setting Powder ($24), Wake & Bake Hydrating Face Oil ($28) and Cake Mix Demi Matte Face Foundation ($28), this makeup would be fun to give in a basket with baking items.  This line has a touching story about the founder that is perfect for Mother’s Day.  Founder Cashmere Nicole was a single 16-year-old mother on welfare.  She founded this makeup line and has found success that enables her to donate monthly to teen moms in need.  What a special story. In the segment, I showed the Scoops Élysées Blush Palette that sells for $38, the Versailles Lip Whip ($20) and the $12 Sugar Lip Scrub Add Aim Hi Happiness Aromatherapy Face & Body Mist to the beauty basket for a nice and light mist spray for Mom.  This pretty product is infused with bergamot, ylang ylang and grapefruit.  $18 at www.aimhieveryday.com.

Give her a boxed gift set that is already assembled with the Spongelle Bulgarian Rose set that comes with a body wash infused Spongetté, body wash infused boxed flower and a body lotion.   $40 at www.spongelle.com. 

Sentimental Photo Mom Theme

Get her favorite images off the electronic devices and into these smart easy to place frames that create a gallery by MagnaFrameWith these cool frames, one is secured in the wall with a nail and then the others snap into place adjourned to the nailed one to create a gallery. Photos are easily slid into the frames.  Give Mom a set with her favorite family pictures already placed in the frame or let her fill the frames.  I showed the MagnaFrame Classic White 4 x 4 collection that sells for $49.95.

I love how my two kiddos look in this super cool Light Affection frame!

I have heard that Oprah Winfrey owns one, therefore Mom needs one! Light Affection creates a unique, illuminated piece of artwork from a photo. Light Affection transforms any photo through the use of an energy-efficient halogen bulb that illuminates the image from behind giving it a warm, beautiful glow. The result is spectacular and even appears to be three-dimensional.  Price $65 to $250 and I showed the Light Affection personalized photo lamp that sells for $95.

News Flash!  Two Hot Upscale Brands Now Sold At Drugstores!

Who knew that the line that is all the rage is sold at Walgreens?  I thought this could only be purchased at high end department stores and the exclusive Tory Burch store in Scottsdale Fashion Square! But my blog’s beauty expert, Bianca told me that Walgreens now sells the beautifully packaged Tory Burch perfume for $79.99! 

For philosophy products, I used to go the philosophy store.  Not anymore since Walgreens picked up the brand!  Get Mom the Orange Pineapple philosophy smoothie shampoo, shower gel & bubble bath all-in-one cool product.  Sells for $16.99.

Darling Drug Store Stuff

No time to preorder?  Simply head to the drug store to get some great gifts!  These are all sold at Walgreens…

*A Little Something Gold Together Foot Cream & Sock Gift Set – $6.00 

*Champagne Fizz Bath Bomb 10 Count jar of vanilla, champagne & sugar cane bath bombs – $13.99

*Pink & Wood Salad Server Set – $9.99

*Gartner Studios Wine Opener Set – $8.99

*Gartner Studios Pink & White Striped Flask – $10.99

*Soap & Glory Fizz-A-Ball Bath Bomb – $5 at Walgreens – turns bath water a fun pink.  This is also sold at Target for under $5! 

*Tabletop Décor Best Mom Ever sign – $2.99

Did I give you helpful Mother’s Day gift ideas? Do you have any you want to share?  Share here in the comments section.  Wishing all a happy Mom’s Day!

 

 

Personality Perfect Gift Ideas & Stocking Stuffers!

Time to get your holiday shopping wrapped up with only two weeks left until Christmas!  Here are some unique ideas to help you along that I showed in my segments on the Your Life Arizona show. 

Stocking Stuffers from Walgreens!

*Giant sized Grand Ferrero Rocher – for the fancy chocolate lover!  Sells for $2.49 on sale

*Fannie May Mint Meltaways – This popular candy is now sold at Walgreens.  I paid $10.99 for this box of prewrapped yummy chocolates.

*Crazy Cat Lady Coffee Mug – Cat lover on your list? This fun mug holds 16 oz. of a fave hot beverage and has a cute paw print on the bottom of the cup.  $9.99

*Maybelline Travel Brush Kit – For the traveler’s stocking, I love these makeup brushes because they are travel sized!  $14.99 for a set of three brushes.

*Merry & Bright Do Not Disturb Sleep Mask – For the napper, super cute idea and this fun sleep mask sells for only $2.

*Dashing Mason Shot Glasses – Mason jars continue to be all the rage, so how fun to see these in shot glasses.  Only $5 for a set of two!

*Dashing Mini Football Game – For the football lover and this is fun for their desk, too…the fun table top game that comes with one goal post, one launcher and one mini football and all for only $5.

*Burt’s Bees Vanilla Bean Lip Balm & Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream Hanging Ornament set – This works for both the gals and guys plus Burt’s Bees is such a good line and it is packaged to hang on the tree, if desired.  $4.99 for both, so this is also a great value!

*Glamorous Nudes Eye Palette – The nude eye shadow trend is still in and looks very nice, so this cool set of eight different shades is packaged for the stocking stuffer and for travel.  $14

*Soap & Glory Travel Sized Body Butters – A great value from Soap & Glory since the recipient gets three of the line’s very nice body butters that include The Righteous Butter, Sugar Crush and Smoothie Star Body Buttercream for all $12.

*Jelly Bean Naughty or Nice Bean Boozled Jelly Beans – This gag gift (or gift for the naughty one on your list) contains jelly beans with odd flavors like lawn clippings, dead fish, spoiled milk and more.  So funny! $6.99

*PetShoppe Customizable Paw Print Ornament – Perfect for the pet lover as this enables them to make a paw print from their pet that is also attached to a dog house frame for the pet’s beloved photo.  $7.99

*I’m Fancy Tumbler – Sparkly and fun and fill it with candy or lip gloss for extra fun gift giving.  $9.99

*Treat Street Holiday Pooper – Another funny gag gift, this wind up gingerbread man poops candy treats as he moves about.  $2.99

*Dog Dazzlers Dog Chews Rawhide Gifting Bag – Cute Christmas bag for the pooch that is filled with yummy rawhide treats that are shaped like candy canes and other holiday shapes.  $6.99 or 2 for $10

*Peppa Pig Lollipop Rings – Just plain yummy, fun and cute.  $3.99

*Haribo Gold-Bears – The mini gummy bears are a fave for kids and adults alike, so this holiday packaged assortment is perfect for a stocking.  $1.99

*Happy Camper Coffee Mug – Perfect oversized mug for the camper on your list as this holds 16 oz. and is camping themed, too.  $9.99

*Be Jolly Christmas Tree Building Blocks Set – For the Lego lovers, but do make sure that this set is only given to older children as the pieces are very small.  The box says for ages 6 and up. The 131-piece set makes a pretty Christmas tree.  $2.99

*L.A. Colors Color Craze Nail Polish and Nail Glitter Set – Cute miniature nail polish gift set with four bottles of polish plus a bottle of glitter to sprinkle on top if desired.  Only $3.00

*Soap & Glory Scent with a Kiss Lip Gloss set – The fun plumping 4-piece Mother Pucker Collection sells for only $15 and would be $23 if sold separately, so this is also a good value.

*A Little Something Fragrance Mist Collection – Four festively named perfumes called Sugared Dreams, Gold Together, So Wonderful and Citrus Pop makes this a nice fragrance set to give.  Only $10 for all four fragrances.

Personality Perfect Presents

*For the beer lover – Get this brew lover the Fizzics Wiretap, a micro-foam technology that dramatically improves the flavor, taste and mouth-feel of any carbonated beer (bottles and cans).   It operates with only 4 AA batteries. Fizzics’ Waytap is lightweight and durable; ideal for the perfect beer at home, outdoor activities, camping, tailgating, etc. Fizzics Waytap sells for $129.99; at www.fizzics.com and is sold nationwide at Target, Best Buy, Brookstone and Amazon.com.  A fun gift!

*For the tween/teen girl – The Sleepover Party Game is perfect for the popular sleepover stage that girls this age are in.  Spin the spinner and attempt to complete one of more than 200 ACT IT, WORK IT or PARTY Challenges. Being silly and having fun is the name of the game, so the friends will sing, laugh, perform and have a blast playing this game together. $21.99 for ages 8 and up.  Sold at www.endlessgames.com and at Walmart stores.

*For the beauty product lover – The Revlon Pro Collection Hair Dryer & Volumizer is perfect for the gal that loves salon style blowouts.  This smart tool combines a hairbrush and blow dryer all in one resulting in less styling time and is frizz-free, too.  Sells for $59.99 at Target.

*For the Charitable Soul – Feed My Starving Children, located in Mesa, is a very special organization that enables individuals and groups alike to volunteer and pack food boxes together in a fun environment.  The boxes are shipped to hungry children around the world.  In addition to the volunteer opportunities, there is also a gift shop called the Marketplace.  The FMSC website explains that the Marketplace purchases handmade goods from hard-working artisans in the communities that receive FMSC meals. The items are then sold in the MarketPlace at FMSC packing sites and the purchases build communities and profits go back into the feeding programs.  Shop for a large variety of these cool gift items that give back here at this link.  So, I bought my mother-in-law a lovely gift that gives back, a 13-inch metal floral angel that was made in Haiti.  The card that is attached to the pretty angel shares that this one purchase provided 100 meals to hungry kids.  Love this gift idea.

*For the beauty queen chocolate lover – A fun candy store in the downtown Gilbert district called Rocket Fizz has all kinds of clever candies, fun treats and items from old days, too like candy cigarettes, Pop Rocks and more. I found Gerrit’s Mini Milk Chocolate Beauty Kit that contains over 3 oz. of chocolate shaped beauty items like a little mirror, lip stick and more. Super cute and sells for $3.49 at Rocket Fizz in Gilbert.

*For the jet set traveler – The Carry On Cocktail Kit Hot Toddy is a small square box that contains everything needed to create an inflight cocktail minus the liquor.  With this fun traveler’s gift, the recipient simply purchases the booze from the inflight crew and then adds the elements provided in the gift kit to make cocktails like a Hot Toddy, Moscow Mule, Old Fashioned and more!  So fun.  Found my kit at Nordstrom or at wandpdesign.com for $24 a kit.

*Wine Lover – Jumbo stemless wine glass that says, “I don’t give a sip!” And this fun glass holds one full bottle of wine!  Pair this with her favorite Vino and you have a winning wine gift!  Purchased this for $16 at Nordstrom’s.

*For the new parents – A super cute JOY photo ornament ($19.99) from CVS at their website, CVSPhoto.com.  I surprised my brother and sister-in-law with one of their new baby and they will hang on the tree and cherish it forever.  CVS also has other photo gifts like photo mugs, a photo puzzle, framed pics and much more.  Be sure to get your CVS photo gift ordered as the items take 7 to 10 days to be delivered.

Did I miss any fun gift ideas?  Share here in the comments section and Happy Holidays!

 

For Furry Family Members: Day 3 Holiday Giveaway Drawing

As we progress through our holiday giveaway week, today’s prize is for the dogs…and cats! Even if you have one or the other, still enter the drawing because you can give the other pet gift to a family member or friend who has a cat or dog.  First the feline prize, a cute and yummy Cat’n Around Catnip toy stocking from Catclaws.com.  Your kitty cat will love having a stocking to rip into, especially when the catnip is discovered that hides inside!  And for the pup in your life (or your pal’s life), check out this delish and chewy Elk Antler sold by a company that only sells the antlers that have fallen off the animals…no hunting of them they tell me, which I like.  Each of the 45 Barkworthies antlers are hand collected, washed, cut, and packaged in the USA. Moose, deer and elk are all offered.  Both cats and dogs will love these gifts, so be sure to enter the drawing!

Rules:  All entries must be emailed to [email protected] by this Thursday, December 15th by midnight, Arizona time. In the email, please list your name, which prize you are putting your name in for (since we are doing a daily drawing this week) and the address you want the prize mailed to if you are the winner.  All prizes will be announced on Friday, with the exception of the teacher’s gift, which we are drawing on Wednesday, December 14th to give the winner time to deliver to the teacher before schools go on holiday break.  Good luck! 

My 3TV Segment – Holiday Gift Ideas

If you saw my 3TV segment on the KTVK “Your Life A to Z” show this week, you will know that I showed lots of gift ideas!

Love doing my morning show segment with cohost, Gina Salazar! The table is full, but I showed even more items in the show than are pictured, so take a look below to see everything.

Ideas for everyone, like teachers and even the furry family members. Here is the information for each item I showed with links on how to purchase, too.

Meaningful Local Hand Crafted Jewelry by Karen Hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love to support local business and our show’s longtime makeup artist, celebrity/professional makeup artist, Karen Hall makes incredible jewels using significant and lovely stones and crystals that have different types of properties.  The significance of each stone can be explained to the recipient with a sweet attached note, that Karen will include on request, in the gift box.  Gorgeous bracelets, earrings, necklaces and more with stunning stones and crystals incorporated, reflect things like healing, stability, good energy and more.  Every year I buy a lovely long beaded necklace with a pretty cross on the end for my mother-in-law and I adore the turquoise leather bracelets Karen makes for my mom.  I showed some exquisite pieces in my segment.  To check out Karen’s handmade jewelry line, email her at [email protected].  Every time my family and friends receive a gift from her lovely line, they are so touched by the beauty of the jewelry art and the significance of the stonework that is carefully crafted into each beautiful piece.

Fun for Teachers

My favorite online gift boutique, Teresa’s Creative Gifts, has the teachers covered with some unique ideas.  Something a little different for the teacher in your life is the pretty sterling silver numbers necklace that has a pewter overlay and sells for $24.  Plus, it comes with a free fun oversized real working pencil.  Teresa’s Creative Gifts also sells the oversized giant pencils in sets of 3 for $24 or $10 each or wholesale at $60 for 12 pencils.  Link to buy is here or email your order to [email protected]

 

For the Football Fans


NFL Holiday LED Lights Ornaments are so festive and fun and can be hung on the Christmas tree every year.  I bought the Redskins set of six bulbs for my Dad and that cost $25 and he will love them!  So fun!  Teresa’s Creative Gifts sells these sets as well, as lots of other NFL items, too.  The NFL ornament link is here or email your order to [email protected]

For the Wine Lover

I adore the pretty Barware Collection holiday silver reindeer wine bottle opener set that I showed in the segment.  For $20 you get a wine bottle opener and a stopper.  Email your order to [email protected]   Teresa’s Creative Gifts has several different holiday varieties at this link.

For the Merry Coffee Lover

Pair their favorite coffee with a joyful coffee mug that says Merry Everything and Happy Always. This is my kind of happy mug!  Other holiday varieties are also available and sell for $13 each at this link.  Or email your order to [email protected]

Stylish & Warm Headwear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty with bling design handwarmers headband sell in lots of different colors for $10 or 3/$24 or buy 7/$49.  Pretty, functional and perfect for warmth, especially for your fashionable family or friend who plans to travel to a cold climate. Those are sold at this link or email your order to [email protected]

For Furry Family Members

An adorable holiday sleigh scratching post will delight your kitty cat for sure!  Catclaws.com sells these for $19.95 each at this link.

This same website also sells fun and festive cat nip stockings that go for only $3.99 at this link

For the pups, I found yummy and chewy Elk Antlers sold by a company that only sells the antlers that have fallen off the animals…no hunting of them they tell me, which I like.  Each of the 45 Barkworthies antlers are hand collected, washed, cut, and packaged in the USA. Moose, deer and elk are all offered.  To see prices and where to buy locally, visit this link.

Fab Photo Gifts

Give a prized and sentimental picture to a loved one, but first have it made into an attractive canvas print that will last forever.  Canvas prints start at $12.99 and framed prints start at $29.99 and can only be ordered online at CVS.  Be sure to order by December 14th to receive in time for Christmas.

 

Gift that Gives Back

I am especially fond of giving and receiving gifts that give back, so I plan on giving several stylish leather bracelets that sport inspirational sayings on each one.  Teresa’s Creative Gifts, sell these with her partner manufacturer, who donates 25% of all proceeds to help feed the homeless, build schools, churches, hospitals, provide school books for children and more.  I love that!  The women’s 6-strand bracelets sell for $29 or a single strand for $20 and men’s $20.  The link is here to order or email your order to [email protected]

Electronic Hot Item for All

The Echo Dot is the smaller version of the expensive Echo, which sells for $180, so I am pleased to see Amazon offer the Dot for a much lower price of $49.99.  Echo Dot (2nd Generation) is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa (like Siri on an iPhone) to play music, control smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms and more.  With the smaller and less expensive Dot, a smaller speaker is included, but I think it is worth the reduced price to live without the bigger hefty speaker that the Echo offers. I did some research on this and I read in a How-To Geek article that the price is almost 75% less, but the functionality is nearly 100% the same.  I will take that, so I purchased one each for my teenagers. I did so on Cyber Monday, so I really saved, but I think the price is still reasonable.

Fun for Kids 

The Goodie Gusher is brand new easy-to-fill, safe-alternative to a piñata and it’s reusable! Here’s how it works: fill the Goodie Gusher with candy and prizes, hang it up, kids (or parents) take turns trying to pull the Magic Key, once the Magic Key is pulled the Goodie Gusher will release a wide shower of party treats! This mom inspired, dad invented fun party game will make sure kids have fun without the fear of getting hit with a stick or bat playing piñata, and you can use it indoors. Available at Walmart, www.goodiegusher.com.

Spa Products for Less

Bath and body lotions, bath gels and more are always treasured gifts.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that Walgreens carries a kit that has 7 items of the very nice White Cotton scent available for only $10.  That is a good value, especially because the kit includes body lotion, body scrub, body butter, bath salt, bubble bath and more.  I bought several of these to give as spa gifts.

Ulta Beauty Supply Store has the very nice Butter London 6-pack nail polish set that is 40% off and will be marked down for the next week or longer or until supplies run out.  Butter is a nice non-toxic line that does not contain formaldehyde, toluene and DBP or parabens.  Love that!

Ulta also has some darling small sized spa beauty gifts that also make terrific stocking stuffers.  I found items like Christmas tree nail files, Perfect Peppermint body lotion, Sugar Cookie Macaron Hand Cream and more.

Stocking Stuffers for All!

All the stocking stuffers I showed in the segment at sold at Walgreens locations.  They have a lot to choose from at good prices, too.

What fabulous gift ideas did I leave out that you know about?  Share in the comments section and I am wishing everyone a joyful and safe holiday season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Holiday Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Who says ice cream is just for summer?  How about homemade holiday vanilla bean ice cream to serve with pie or all by itself with a little red and green flair. If you own an ice cream maker, this recipe is for you.  Your holiday guests will cheer when they see that ice cream is near, especially since it isn’t expected this time of year.  Here here I say.  Ice cream works on any day.  OK I am done with my rhyme as now it is time to make everyone’s favorite dessert.  Ice cream!  Homemade.  Vanilla bean with the real beans.  Even better! xmas-ice-creamI did this over Thanksgiving and it was a hit!  I like that the vanilla bean can be seen in the ice cream, too. I must admit that I am sharing this recipe from my Cuinsart Ice Cream maker recipe book that came with my delightful ice cream machine that Santa brought me last year!  cream-makerMy Santa would be my wonderful mother-in-law and father-in-law.  My family especially enjoyed our tasty ice cream recipes all summer long and adding some vanilla bean ice cream to my Turkey Day dessert table was a bonus for sure! 

And my decadent sweet tooth brainstormed simply adding red and green sprinkles to finished ice cream for a merry festive look with an extra dash of sweet!  I think Santa would approve!  santa-creamHere is how to make what I call Holiday Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (using an ice cream maker…I used a Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker). The coolest ingredient is the actual vanilla bean that comes in a jar like this one that sells at Walmart and other grocery stores.  This costs around $8 a jar, so it isn’t cheap, but it is the real deal bean that makes the vanilla bean ice cream authentic.  This recipe makes about 14 1/2 cup servings. van-bean

What You Need – The Good Stuff! 

2 1/3 cups whole milk

2 1/3 cups heavy cream

1 whole vanilla bean

3 large eggs

4 large egg yolks

1 1/8 cups sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

optional for Christmas Ice Cream – red and green sugar sprinkles

What You Do:  Work That’s Worth It! 

Combine the milk and cream in medium saucepan.  Use a sharp knife to split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise.  Use the blunt end to scrape out the “seeds” and stir the seeds and bean pod into the milk/cream mixture.

Bring the mixture to a slow boil over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in a medium bowl.  Use a hand mixer on medium speed to beat until the mixture is thick, smooth and pale yellow in color (similar to mayo), for about 2 minutes.

Remove the vanilla bean pod from the milk/cream mixture and discard.  Measure out 1 cup of the hot liquid.  With the mixer on low speed, add the cup of hot milk/cream to the egg mixture in a slow and steady stream.  When thoroughly combined, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk/cream mixture and stir to combine.  Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.  Transfer to a bowl, stir in vanilla, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap placed directly on the custard and chill completely.

Pour the chilled custard  into the ice cream maker freezer bowl.  Turn the machine on and let mix, until thickened about 25 to 30 minutes.  The ice cream will have sort of a soft serve creamy consistency.  To make thicker, like typical ice cream, place in container with air tight lid and freeze for two hours.  This container was full to the top….I took the picture after our Thanksgiving dessert was consumed! v-bean-ice-creamTop with the red and green sprinkles for a splash of holiday cheer.  This also gives it a sweet crunch, too.

Absolutely yummy and crowd pleasing!  Great to add to your holiday pies for a la mode, too!ice-cream-santa

Different Than Pumpkin Pie…Try Pumpkin Supreme!

If you are not a pumpkin pie fan, but like pumpkin desserts or if you want something a little different from the usual pumpkin pie, try this scrumptious pumpkin supreme recipe.  pumpkinsupremeSeveral years ago, I asked my sister-in-law for her Texas family’s recipe for my all-time favorite dessert that she makes for us every Thanksgiving and Christmas.  She gave it to me and gave me to permission to share it with you!  It is called Pumpkin Supreme and it is better than pumpkin pie any day, in my opinion!  With a light whipped topping over a pumpkin and cream cheese layer that lays on top of a chilled delish graham cracker crust, this recipe will have your guests coming back for seconds.  Here is how you make it…

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped pecans
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1 big container cool whip
3/4 cup milk
2 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding
1 regular sized can of pumpkin
dash of cinnamon

Instructions:
1. Mix graham cracker crumbs and 1 cup of the sugar in with the butter.
2. Press this mixture into a 9 x 12 Pyrex dish, so that this becomes the crust.
3. Combine eggs with the 3/4 cup of sugar and cream cheese.
4. Mix until fluffy.
5. Spread over crust.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
7. When completely cool (can even refrigerate overnight), go on to next step.
8. Mix 3/4 cup milk with two boxes of instant vanilla pudding.
9. Add pumpkin.add-pumpkin



10. Fold in one cup of cool whip.
11. Spread over cooled cream cheese mixture.

pumpkin-layer
12. Cover with remaining Cool Whip and sprinkle nuts on top.  Here is what a slice looks like and you won’t believe how good it tastes.  Place a dollop of whipped cream on top, like pictured, or layer the entire top with whipped cream, sprinkled cinnamon and pecans.  Up to you. pumpkinsupremeTruly decadent!  You can also serve this dessert in mason jars by following the same steps and layering in the jars instead of a pan.  This recipe is super tasty.  Try it! mason jar

Enjoy!  So yummy!  Happy Thanksgiving!!

My Thanksgiving Table Decor Deals & Ideas

Warm and inviting Thanksgiving table decor can set the mood and get the festivities going.  After I posted a quick picture of my Thanksgiving table on Facebook, I had a lot of compliments and some questions about where I found my festive items.  Love that and love my holiday table! table-3So I decided to share in today’s blog post.  Some of these ideas and items may work for both your Thanksgiving and Christmas table, so take a look.

I am excited and thrilled that our college freshman son asked if we could host a few of his friends who are unable to fly all the way home for Thanksgiving. asu-parentsWe wholeheartedly replied yes and my heart is full that his heart is thoughtful about his newfound friends being far away from home on Thanksgiving.

So with that excitement (and of course my joy that our boy will be home with us) I went to work to put together a complete Turkey Day table.  I asked my husband for my Christmas gift early, as I had been wanting a new dining room table for the last couple of years.  He agreed and I got busy comparing prices at furniture stores, warehouse outlets, online retailers and more.

Here is the result of my complete finished holiday table, step by step and purchase by purchase.  And very cool…one set of items came from a dollar store.  You gotta love that.  Take a look.  I will note that some of the items I show may be sold out, but similar styles can be found.  Moreover, for Christmas table stuff, there is still plenty out there.  But let’s talk about Thanksgiving decor.

Finding My New Table

I wanted simple, but elegant.  And sturdy, since I expect this table to last me a very long time.  Options and competitive prices were available at warehouse stores like Costco, but the shipping wait was over six weeks.  Thanksgiving was coming right up.  Big fancy furniture stores were asking around $4,000 and up for tables that seat 8 or more, which is the size that I wanted.  However, that is way over my budget, especially since we now pay college tuition!  (Future blog post about the shock of that coming soon!)

I also checked Wayfair and Overstocked, but I just couldn’t find the exact one I wanted.  Plus, I like to see and feel the object I am buying, especially when it is a big ticket item.

Then I remembered a relatively new warehouse/furniture store that had come to town recently.  So off we went to take a look.  This place was definitely different.  Very nice and large, but without salesperson pressure. Fancier than a warehouse box store, but with warehouse prices.  Bingo!  My cutie pie son’s girlfriend, Hannah went with me and she quickly spotted this…living-spacesAnd with that, this went from the showroom to my dining room! What do you think?  Do you like it?  I think it fits perfectly, as shown below in my home.  Just in time for Thanksgiving, too!
table-with-words

Yep, it looks terrific in my home!table-1

I love Living Spaces!  We got the set for $2,000, which included adding two nice over-sized accent captain chairs that we personally selected from the warehouse shelves.  We could have reduced the price by $100 if we had picked up the set ourselves, but I needed delivery, so that fee was included in the price.  It is a beautiful sturdy table with quality chairs that have attractive decorative studs. Plus, it seats eight people, which is exactly what I wanted.  Christmas came early for me and I found a quality set at a competitive price.  This table and these chairs will hold many precious memories ahead.  I will cherish each and every one of them.  Now that my oldest is away at college, I know firsthand how precious those times are and how time flies.

Next Step:  Setting the Thanksgiving Table

Now, let’s set the table! And check it out because I saved money by shopping at a dollar store, saving coupons, mix and matching items I had on hand and more.  Let’s set the table and I will share my secrets and tips…

plate-with-wordsGotta love Kohl’s and since I am a Kohl’s Rewards Member, I waited to receive my $5 rewards gift certificate via email.  I then combined that with my 20% off Kohl’s mailer coupon and used Kohl’s cash that I had saved. This reduced my total cost by 40%!  So with those savings, I purchased the place mats, serving platters and full dish set place settings, all from Kohl’s!  Love that! plate-with-kohls

I also really like the place mats I found at Kohl’s because they look festive, but work year-round as well.  Many stores have fun Thanksgiving Day decor themed place mats, but I wanted a smart purchase that is versatile.  Found it!  The dish set is also decorative and fancy for a holiday meal, but also versatile enough to be used for all kinds of other occasions, too.  Again that is smart shopping.

And check out the pretty green water glasses.  I needed a set of 8 and I didn’t want to spend a lot.  I thought about how to accomplish this for a few days.  Unrelated to this goal, I visited an unlikely store looking for something else.  But look what happened instead…glass-waterI really would have never thought of a dollar store for a matching set of glassware. The Dollar Tree had pretty Christmas glasses displayed in the storefront, so I decided to venture over to the dish section.  To my surprise, the selection and variety was large and most styles had at least six matching items. And all for one dollar each.  Brilliant!  Finding this set at Dollar Tree was an added plus!

Speaking of FOUND…I found a fabulous local boutique called FOUND by Domestic Bliss that offered napkins that touched my heart. I had to have this shabby chic design with a touching message…

table-set-napkinI absolutely love the give thanks sentiment.  I showed these napkins in my recent morning show segment.  I discussed how I saved money by using mismatched napkin rings that I already had on hand.  It works!  Here is the picture from my TV segment…show-setNotice also the pretty and festive table runner can be seen in the photo above, that also came from the FOUND store.  Christmas table runners are offered as well and I like that they are made of paper for easy roll out, storage, reuse or recycling afterwards. I adore earth friendly items!

For the Arizona locals reading this, FOUND by Domestic Bliss is located in Chandler in the Casa Paloma shopping center at Ray Rd., right off the I10.  Unique boutiques owned by local gals are my thing, so be sure to check it out.  She has all kinds of home decor items, clothing, jewelry, clever knick knacks, one-of-a-kind gifts and more.  And the owner, Kristin Wilson Alber, has done interior design decor for celebs and magazine spreads, too.  Definitely check out her shop!

So my table is set.  The college kids are coming. My husband will help cook.  My high school daughter thinks it is cool that big brother is coming with friends.  May your table be full and full of warm memories, too.

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am so thankful to all of you for following my humble little mama blog.  Thank you!  And on this Thanksgiving, I couldn’t be more thankful for the three peeps that surround me in this picture.  My joy just can’t be hid and was captured in this photograph.  This would also be a picture of my heart.  Happy Thanksgiving 🙂 thxful

Holiday Gift Ideas Shown In My 3TV Morning Show Segment

If you caught my morning show segment on KTVK’s “Your Life A to Z’ show today and want to know where to get the cool gift ideas I showed, here is the information…

gift-ideas

 

found quite the find at FOUND By Domestic Bliss store in Chandler.  I love locally owned unique boutiques and FOUND is so unique with festive flair, interior design items to die for, trendy clothing styles, jewelry and lots more!  FOUND is located right off the I10 and Ray Rd. in the Casa Paloma Shopping Center.  Find some to time to get there to check it out for your holiday needs, decor, gifts and more.  Here are a few items from FOUND that I showed in my segment…

*Meri Meri Jewelry Advent Calendar – $35.50 at FOUND boutique in Chandler – I love this! A pretty little box represents the advent calendar and this seasonal calendar comes in the style of a classic jewelry box. Opening the lid reveals a dancer and two trays with numbered compartments each with a charm to add to a charm bracelet.  advent-braceletWhat a fun way to celebrate the season with a child and the bracelet will be a forever keepsake, too.

*Red Amaryllis Bulb in Can by Urban Agriculture, $25 at FOUND boutique in Chandler (pictured above) – This great green gift works for a terrific earth friendly gift and also makes a nice office gift to give.  This plant in a can becomes a red and radiant Amaryllis for the holidays.  Within a few weeks, the red flower blooms for festive beauty.  Give this gift early so that the recipient can enjoy the pretty red plant all season long.

*Urban Agriculture Co. Christmas Tree in a can, $32 at FOUND boutique in Chandler (pictured above) – How cool to give a Christmas tree plant in a can.  The seedling grows indoors for a year.  Then it is planted in the ground so that the recipient has their very own outdoor Christmas tree.  Love this!

*Bell Wreath Ornament, $19.50 at FOUND – Festive, fun, pretty and this ornament makes get-in-the-spirit sleigh bell sounds.  wreath-ornamentUse this as an ornament for the Christmas tree or place small candles in the center for pretty décor that smells like the holidays, too.  This also makes a fun party favor idea that guests can shake and then take home to put on their tree.

*Unique personalized gift for the cook – a hand painted spoon holder from As You Wish Pottery Painting Place.  My daughter made one for me for my birthday.  I laughed when I saw that she painted it to resemble a wine glass!  And I use it every day since this is a smart item that every cook needs.  So, take your kid, or yourself, to As You Wish to paint a personalized gift that is functional, too.  The spoon holder sells for $15 and the painting fee is $8 for adults and$6 for kids.gfts

*Unique gift for the chef – Gourmet Grater from PakoLazo.com, $25  – My gal pal gave me one and I love how it looks and how it works.  This pretty plate enables the cook to quickly create a beautiful and tasty fresh garlic paste.  I also found a good variety of pretty garlic grater plates at the ETSY website, too.

*Relish jar Paddywax Balsam + Fir Artisan Soy Wax holiday candle, $11.00 for 3 oz. candle that smells like fresh pine.  This is hand poured in the USA and I like that it is a soy candle.  This makes a great gift or stocking stuffer, too.

Stay tuned as I will have more unique gift ideas on my blog as we proceed through the holiday season and more to come in my 3TV segment in December, too!

Happy Holiday season!

Overnight Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal in Mason Jars

Here is a cool holiday breakfast idea for your guests.  Make pumpkin spice oatmeal the night before.  Prepare in individual mason jars that can be simply set out in a breakfast buffet the next morning, warm or cold. oatmeal-doneoatmeal-closeSuch a fun, festive and flavorful idea with a recipe that is healthy clean eating.  And some house guests may crave a nutritious breakfast the day after the high calorie Turkey Day.

I found this delightful and super easy recipe from my favorite meal planning site, MealGarden. I especially like MealGarden because the recipes are clean and healthy with a wide variety.  I did add a few extras to the original recipe.  My version is shown below in this how-to video.  So easy and so festive.  Take a look…

 

The original recipe can be found at MealGarden. Thank you to MealGarden for allowing me to experiment with this recipe and share it on my blog!  Enjoy and happy holiday pumpkin everything season!