Wednesday, November 30, 2016

These are a few of our favorite things...

K's horse diffuser
L's favorite blocks
Pionner homestead drying rack (Advent clearing and cleaning)
St. Therese paper dolls from Saint Nicholas

An updated version from last year of our favorite gifts to include some of our favorite baby gifts amongst other things.

I have had quite a few emails lately asking me for gift ideas. It seemed like a big enough request that I should go ahead and do a post with some ideas I have. Honestly, I don't have a lot, but I hope it is somewhat helpful to you! All of the gifts I am listing are things my family and I truly love and get lots of use from. Some of the links are Amazon affiliate links which means that if you choose to make a purchase, you are being a blessing to us as we will receive a small percentage of the sale. All of these proceeds made help out our family with homeschooling, or other extremely meaningful teachings that my children would not have otherwise. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.

- Baby F loves playing with these baby blocks. We have had them since K was a baby. All of my children received sheepskins or as we call them "lambies" as babies for sleeping on and later for play. C even used her up until she was about three or four. The ones we have are no longer available but the one I linked too seems very similar. I also made sure to get each one of my babies a teething necklace shortly after they were born. They seem to help with teething pain. All of our children wore these wool overalls as babies and they continue to be one of my favorite cozy wears for Baby F. In fact he is getting a new pair this year for Christmas. I usually pair them with some cozy hand knit booties and a wool long sleeve shirt. As you can see I tend to be more practical with baby gifts. Perhaps because K received so many toys as a baby and we have no need for more. 😊

- If you know anyone who loves fermenting or wants to try it out I suggest the book Fermented Vegetables. We devour everything I make from this book and have some cranberries fermenting on the counter for Christmas. To go along with it I would suggest some canning jars, and this set to start out with. Another fermentation idea is some water kefir grains. We use simple canning jars for the ferment and then these bottles to make it bubbly afterwards.

- This Christmas K will be receiving her own pocket knife. I want her to learn how to work with knives safely and feel it is an important life skill that will greatly benefit her.

-For anyone young or old I can't say enough good things about good quality essential oils and a diffuser. The one you see pictured above is K's special horse diffuser we got her for her birthday this year along with a few of her own essential oils. Just please remember to exercise caution with all essential oils and really research before using them, especially around children.

- We all enjoy playing Wildcraft as a family. It's fun enough to entertain everyone while teaching us all about the uses for many common herbs at the same time. K is receiving Bananagrams as a gift this year and L is receiving Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel. Our friends in Oregon had these games and my children had a blast playing them. C will be getting Shut the Box. She played this at a local event and didn't want to stop. Other games that my children enjoy are: Bird Bingo,
Auf Dem Lande (it appears to be unavailable on Amazon right now but you might be able to find it elsewhere reasonably priced), Harvest Time, and Birds of Summer.

- My girls can not get enough of their St. Therese and Her Family Paper Dolls that St. Nicholas brought them. There are so many dolls and outfits in that book that he actually split them up and they received half of them last year and the other half this year. I laminated them all to keep them safe from younger siblings (K still recalls an incident with two year old C biting the heads off of her Little House paper dolls).

- Little L will tell you that, hands down, his favorite toy (besides his beloved shark stuffed animals) is his set of interlocking blocks. I highly suggest the set of 92 over the smaller set for more building options (and especially if you have more than one child. The girls are always stealing his blocks building with him). In fact, he loves them so much my Mom gave him an additional set last year for Christmas. He also has a new found love for wooden trains tracks and trains.

- We bought K a Skuut wooden balance bike when she was around 2 years old and it has lasted  through the rough riding of all three of my children (each of them riding it for about three years, from age two to age five when we get them a regular bike with pedals).  It's still in good enough shape that it will be passed down to our next baby, too! My children have all been able to transition to big bikes without training wheels thanks to using the Skuut first.

- Safe, good quality art supplies are very important to our family. They encourage endless artistic expressions. Giving children lesser quality supplies only leads to frustration when they can not create what they are envisioning in their heads due to what they are using. Not only that, the good quality supplies last longer. We have had the same sets of Stockmar block crayons and stick crayons since K was a toddler and they are still going strong. I did, however, purchase both of the girls special sets for homeschooling just to keep them nicer and out of L's hands. We use Stockmar paint for all of our painting (and I also used it when I lazured the girls' bedroom walls back in Oregon). Stockmar modeling beeswax is a staple in our homeschooling as well as one of C's favorite things to play with. For colored pencils, we prefer Lyra triangular giants. Their colors and blending capabilities are spectacular and their triangular shape promotes proper grip.

- Speaking of artistic endeavors, both C and K love to needlefelt and wet felt with wool. This kit from Nova is a great starter kit for children (or even adults!).

- Hanna Andersson organic pajamas are a favorite amongst all my children. I used to buy them at their outlet store in Oregon but now I just wait for the good sales. These are the only pajamas that can hold up to my children's rough wear and even be passed down to the next sibling (baby F is wearing pajamas that all three of it's older siblings wore!). We have tried other pajamas here and there but they can never hold up for more than a couple of months.

- Last year my children all received these breakfast boards for Christmas. They use them everyday and love caring for them with hand washing and monthly beeswaxing.

- Words can not say how much I love my Pioneer drying rack. Before I had this I was using cheap, poor quality metal drying racks that would rust or break within months of use. Not only that but they were never big enough to hold all that I needed to dry. I was constantly replacing them (and the clothing they ruined). But the Pioneer is the perfect size for my growing family and such good quality that I think I will be passing it down to my children in the future.

- The Oh She Glows Cookbook is by far my favorite cookbook. I have had it a couple of years now and I still use the recipes in it on almost a daily basis. Her new book is just as amazing, too!

-  My whole family uses Klean Kanteen water bottles on a daily basis (I even bought one for my Mom). We use different sizes, depending on the person, from the sippy cup up to the 40 oz bottle. We stick with the simple brushed stainless instead of the painted ones because I have found that the paint eventually chips off of those ones.

I'll let you know if I think of anything else. If you are looking for age specific suggestions and or have any questions - ask away!
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Keep Calm Craft On {crafting on}

The act of creating, in one form or another, preserves my sanity amongst the chaos of life. This explains why I always have more than one project going at a time as well as why my housework tends to fall behind. I enjoy seeing what others are working on and keeping calm with, too. What are you creating? What is keeping you going? Snap a picture or two, post i on your blog, on Instagram #craftingon and/or Flickr and then share it with the rest of us by leaving your link below.

KCCO

I cast on another Cascade sweater. The one I knit for Little L so many years ago didn't last to pass down to Baby F. That is okay - it gave me an excuse to use some of dear Ginny's beautiful yarn. Don't you love my stitch markers? I was stuck under a sleeping baby so I had to use whatever I had nearby.

What are you working on? Happy creating!

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