Why Surprises Are the Best Gifts

Everyone loves celebrations, especially the Christmas season. However, choosing gifts can be stressful. Going to the mall or other shopping outlet and dealing with traffic is one stressful situation. Another is finding the perfect gift. If it’s a gift for Grandpa, what do you get  someone who probably has it all? If it’s a gift for your husband, he possibly has an idea of what you may get him. That takes all of the fun out of tearing into a beautifully wrapped gift under the tree, doesn’t it? Here are a few reasons you should go ahead and surprise the man in your life with a personalized gift this holiday.

It Shows You’ve Gone the Extra Mile

A personalized gift shows you’ve gone the extra mile. You’re giving them something useful. Many times a personalized gift is tangible, so it’ll always be around. Every time they pull it out, they will think of you. This special man will know you’ve paid a bit extra, too. You’ve had to figure out that special message or choose the perfect engraving details. Other times, gift ideas such as a gourmet dinner cruise, helicopter lessons, or golf lessons with a PGA pro is an experience of a lifetime for them.

It’s Not a Last Minute Gift Idea

hand wrapped gift

Image via Flickr by Erika G

Personalized gifts are not last-minute gift ideas. You certainly can’t wake up the day before the holiday and run to the store to grab them. If you’ve considered making a gift for him, that will take time as well. Surprising the man in your life with a personalized gift lets him know you’ve planned this gift. You took time and effort to ensure it was special, just for him.

There are Many Out of the Ordinary Gifts to Choose From

Shopping for a personalized gift allows you to choose out of the ordinary gifts. There are thousands of gifts to choose from. However, your best bet is to choose one that will suit his taste. Is he into golf, auto repair, a food lover, or adventure seeker? If you’re unsure of the best gift, get a few ideas from a site such as Cloud 9 Living. Here you can search by the experience type or most popular gift ideas in your area. These gift ideas for him will help you decide on that perfect gift.

The Element of Surprise is Always Best

Have you two set a dollar amount on your gift exchanges? Or, maybe you have a top 10 list of items to choose from. Surprise him with a personalized gift, yet stick within the budgeted amount. Many believe that something custom has to cost a large sum of money. Even something as small as a gift certificate to a unique store puts a higher value on your gift. To add the element of surprise, place your certificate in the same size box as one of the items on his list. Add a custom designed wrapper for a special touch.

He Can Be a Trendsetter

Men tend to like to brag more than they let on. Having a personalized gift authorizes him to brag and say no one else has a Christmas gift quite like this one. So while the guys are all around sharing stories of their holiday meals and gifts, they can set the new trend of what their friends will all want next year.

Because He Won’t Do It for Himself

It doesn’t matter the gender; both men and women enjoy receiving surprises. There aren’t many people who order personalized gifts for themselves. The reason could be because it seems like a conceited or greedy idea. You feel someone else should take the time and effort to do it because it symbolizes love and care. So since he won’t buy his own personalized gift, surprise him with one.

As you can see, it’s not so much more trouble of you picking a personalized gift than any other method of gift giving. Surprises, though, are what make the gift worthwhile. To receive that genuine smile because you’ve given a gift from the heart will make you and him feel so good.

Our Teacher Gifts This Year

I am so thankful for Pinterest this Christmas. It’s opened up a whole new world of teachers’ gifts to me. {And, since there are so many teachers on Pinterest, their comments on pins helped me determine which ones to quickly overlook.}

I wanted to make the gifts special this year. My kids will most likely not finish out the school year in the same school district, so I wanted to give a meaningful gift to each of their teachers.

I stumbled across this pin. I thought it was such a sweet idea. The creator of the project that was pinned used Wordle to create her design. I messed with Wordle and ended up getting frustrated beyond belief. I ended up just using my skills to create designs for each of my kids’ teachers. That way I could use their favorite colors, make certain sayings larger than others, and lay it out exactly like I wanted.

Here’s how Jace’s teacher’s gift turned out:

teacher gift

I am so, so happy with the way they turned out. I did the same thing with Ashley and Zander’s teachers – each one using words the kids picked to describe their teachers. It’s personal, from the heart, and unique. I hope their teachers love them as much as I loved making them.

Of course, I couldn’t just give one little gift, so I threw in a few more trinkets:

teacher gift

You can never have too many pairs of fuzzy socks. And those penguin suckers I found at Walmart were just too cute to pass up!

Jace has two Teacher’s Aids this year, so for them, I mimicked this pin. Instead of using those girly-looking cups, {since both of his aids are men}, I bought two large reusable water bottles, filled them with single-serve lemonade packets, and included a note that said, “Thanks for being such a great ‘ade’.” Too cute.

Did you get creative with Teacher’s gifts this year? I’d love to hear about it!

Beanie Designs Review & #Giveaway

Beanie Designs specialize in bringing smiles with an exclusive collection that ranges from crocheted, hand knitted baby hats and baby headbands to flower clips, baby mittens and booties using 100% Cotton and Organic cotton. They offer newborn hats, infants hats, and kid-sized hats, and they have some of the cutest winter hats for babies that I have ever seen. My favorite section is the one with all the animal hats. Oh my gosh! The little panda hat is absolutely precious!

I am all about handmade {crocheted} hats for babies and kids. So, when Beanie Designs contacted me and asked if I would be willing to do a review of one of their hats, I jumped at the chance. I’m in the process of putting aside money for hats for each of the kids for the winter, and this definitely helps out!

The hat I selected was the Organic Cotton Brown Earflap Hat with Blue Stripes. I got it in Parker’s size, because he has super sensitive ears and I thought it would be perfect for our chilly fall and winter days.

Look how adorable Parker looks in his new hat:
parkers hat

Isn’t it cute? I love everything about this hat. The colors are perfect. Since Parker is pretty pale, I was worried that the colors might wash him out even more, but they really don’t. They’re super cute. And the hat is so soft. Not itchy or scratchy at all, which is great for an almost 3 year old. And at just $26 with free shipping, it’s a great deal. The best thing about the hat is how much Parker love his hat. He wants to wear it all the time – even when it’s 80* outside!

Beanie Designs ships fast, and they offer most of their hats in many different sizes. The hat I selected was available in 0-3 months all the way up to 3 – 10 years! The hat is absolutely adorable, and it’s very well made. I would definitely recommend Beanie Designs to anyone looking for cute baby winter hats for their little one. Their selection is excellent, as well as the range of sizes available. And you can’t beat free shipping on any US order. {They also ship worldwide.}

Take a moment to read how Beanie Designs was started: About Beanie Designs – It is by far one of the most interesting stories I’ve ever read!

Beanie Designs is offering one lucky reader the hat of their choice! {Shipped right to their door, free of charge.}

To enter, just use the rafflecopter gadget below.

Disclaimer: This review is sponsored by Beanie Designs. I received a hat in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. I was not compensated for this post in any other way. The sponsor will also fulfill the winner’s prize as stated above.

Fun & Easy Art Project

I love making things. You all saw the projects that the kids and I made for Father’s Day, right?

Last week, I had to come up with a creative “reveal” gift for my Secret Sister at church. It had to be something that would be a dead giveaway that I was her Secret Sister. In her gift bag, I included three items:

  1. A black apron with the word “Mom” embellished on it.
  2. A set of magnets with photos of her daughter and one of her and her husband.
  3. A pencil box decorated with monkey stickers. (If nothing else, I knew this one would be the dead giveaway. Too bad she already knew it was me!)

The magnets were such a hit that I had dozens of people asking me to make some for them. So, I figured you all might like to know how to make them as well.

Here’s the set that I made for my own fridge:

Fridge Magnets
I know. Not really the best picture. Sorry. I was in a hurry. But, I think you get the idea.

Now, here’s the fun part: Here’s how easy it is to make these yourself!

Items Needed

  • Thin piece of wood. (I used the inserts to the board that I purchased to make one of the Father’s Day Gifts.) You can buy small pieces of wood at any craft store.
  • Art Program on your computer. (I use PhotoShop and/or Paint Shop Pro. If you don’t have one, GIMP is a free one that’s great!)
  • Printer & Copy Paper (Don’t use photo paper, plain paper works better.)
  • Modge Podge (available in any craft store, walmart, etc.)
  • Magnets (you can buy the round disks or the strip of magnets that you can cut to size. Both have an already sticky back and are perfect to use.)
  • Clear Spray Sealer (optional. I used the glossy finish sealer.)

Now that we’ve got everything we need, here’s how to make the project:

Find the digital photo that you want to use. (Or scan a hard copy to your computer.) Open it in your photo editing program. Crop the photo to a square (if the wood you are using is square). Resize your photograph to the same size as your piece of wood. Print out the photo. (Then, make sure that it matches the size of the wood you’re about to apply it to. I always size it just a bit bigger than the wood, because it’s always easier to cut off more than you need, but it’s impossible to add more on.) Cut out the photo. Apply Modge Podge in a thin layer on the wood, then attach the photograph to it. Work quickly, because Modge Podge sets up fast. You’ll want to make sure there are no bubbles. Allow the Modge Podge to dry. Then, you can spray the photo with a clear sealer if desired, or just add a magnet to the back and stick it to your fridge. (Be sure to allow it to dry for 24 – 48 hours before handling it too much whether you seal it or not.)

See how easy that was? It’s perfect for a quick gift for someone special, or to add more fun to your fridge!

Let me know if you try this project.

Finally Getting Crafty!

I’ve been visiting my friend Lindsey’s blog – Kindred Spirit Mommy – a lot lately, and every time I stop by, it seems like that girl is making something new. I love getting crafty, but I never get time to do it anymore. That, and I’m really good at making gifts for baby girls. Since I’m having a boy, I’m kind of stumped as to what I can make for him and have been in a crafting ‘rut’ lately.

Last week, our area got hammered with snow and ice. Down here, they don’t have the equipment to deal with severe winter weather, so when it snows, you’re stuck. The kids were off school for days, and we were completely stuck in our house. I was frustrated, tired, and needed to do something, so I decided to make some gifts for a friend of mine that was due with a baby girl. I wanted to wait and give her the gifts at the hospital, and since she sometimes reads my blog, I didn’t want to risk her seeing the gifts and having the surprise ruined. Since she had her baby girl on Monday morning, and I’ve already stopped by the hospital to give her the gifts, I can finally share my craftiness with you all!

First, I made her a custom travel wipes case. These are one of my favorite things to make. In fact, it’s one of the only things I’ve made for my baby-to-be. We picked out our diaper bag recently, and I wanted a travel wipes case to match it. The one pictured below, though, is the one I made for my friend. Her diaper bag is black and white, but I know she loves pink, so I wanted to add a pop of color… and of course, some sparkles. After all, every baby girl deserves sparkles. Here’s the result:

The other item I made her is my absolute favorite thing to make for little girls: A Bow Bouquet. Every “flower” and leaf on the wooden stems are hairbows that can be worn in your little girl’s hair. The bouquet just gives you a cute place to store them all. And, since I knew my friend’s baby’s nursery had a garden theme – and that her momma was dying to get some hairbows, I just had to make this for her. Look how cute it turned out:

Sigh. I love making gifts for baby girls. It’s so much fun, and I can unleash my creativity and just let it flow.

Are you the crafty type? Would you rather make a gift for someone or buy it? What kind of things have you been making lately? (It is the holidays, and handmade gifts are my favorites, so I want to hear!)

And if you could, give me some ideas of things I can make for this baby boy. I’ve got less than 3 months to go, and I need to get on the ball!