When my 10-year- old was a baby, she received more piggy banks than we knew what to do with. Seriously, was this some sort of hint that we start saving right away for her college education? Oddly enough, when her younger sister was born 4 years later, no one bestowed her with any means for saving her dollars. So how is that then that she is our resident saver, while her sister likes to spend her bucks right away? But that’s a story for another day…If there’s one thing I noticed, it’s that the idea of giving a a piggybank as a gift is as exciting as getting pajamas on Christmas morning. How do you go about making something practical a little more exciting? We think the Wikki Stix Designer Piggy Bank gets the job done. If you’re not familiar with Wikki Stix, they are wax-covered yarn sticks that kids can bend and twist to create anything from stick figures to flowers. We personally love that they keep kids occupied–and their fingers get to do something besides tapping on a keyboard! Well, now Wikki Stix have upped the ante with a piggy bank that they can personalize. Forget messy markers or glue; kids simply affix them to the pig using their fingers and their designs stay put. Best of way, if they change their minds about how something looks, they can just peel them off and start over. This is one piggy that doesn’t mind getting a makeover…just stay away from muddy puddles.
In a Nutshell: Kids will go hog wild for a piggy bank they can design and decorate to their heart’s content. Finally, a place where you can bring home the bacon–and keep it there, too.
Next weekend is Father’s Day…have you picked out a tie yet? Yes, we know it can’t be easy for to buy something for the guy who has everything…and it’s even more challenging if he’s not into golfing, grilling or playing with his big-boy tools. To add a little spice to his day, why not go a la Boardwalk Empire and pick up some hand-crafted moonshine? Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine makes 10 different flavors passed down from old family recipes, and packs them in moonshine jugs and jars that make extra-special gifts. From Original Moonshine, to Charred Moonshine, each has a distinct flavor all its own…and one that dear ol’ dad may want to keep all to himself….If your guy is trying to cut down on the calories, but still craves that delicious scent of an ice-cold beer, consider Yankee Candle’s On Tap. One whiff of this fragrant candle, and he’ll be instantly transported to his favorite pub, the heady aroma of a just-poured draft beer. Makes a great gift idea for the mancave. Happy Father’s Day!
In a Nutshell: Let Dad tie one on in a different kind of way with two great gifts with no aftertaste.
It’s like The Big Chill in our Frozen-obsessed house. Can you relate? My girls can’t get enough of this movie, and I know we’re not alone. Just last week, our plumber was singing “Let It Go” as he fixed our leaky sink…et tu, Brute? As this record-setting Disney franchise continues to amaze and delight fans of all ages, prepare yourselves for the continued onslaught of Frozen-themed goodies. With so many stores already sold out of Frozen toys, dolls and dress-up clothes, insiders are predicting a new wave of merchandise lasting well into the holiday season. (Really? Guess that means Olaf might make it to that summer he’s been longing for…). Naturally, we’re keeping our eyes peeled for any and all things Frozen, and so we’re waiting with bated breath for a new room decor line from Uncle Milton that will have Elsa, Anna and Olaf lovers redecorating their bedrooms in a heartbeat. For starters, the Olaf the Snowman Wall Friends brings everyone’s favorite snowman (sorry, Frosty) to life at the touch of a button. Kids will get a kick out of watching the 13-inch Olaf light up and talk to them, as he recites familiar phrases from the movie. If your kid knows his Frozen dialogue like the back of his hand, this is the toy for him. (Word is there will also be a Queen Elsa Wall Friends)…Elsa-adoring fans will be in the glory with the Snowflake Light Dance, which creates a bedroom light show with six different options. The snow queen herself strikes a daring pose, as she illuminates the scene. And if your kid can’t possibly pin down her favorite Frozen character, she can pay tribute to them all with Frozen Light Vines, 10 feet of multicolored lights that can be customized with attachable snowflakes and interchangeable light covers featuring the cast. With that much star power in one room, you can forget about “lights out” for the time being. Uncle Milton’s Frozen room decor line will be available in store this September.
In a Nutshell: Frozen fans will be clamoring for this decor designed to add lots of light and liveliness to any bedroom.
Walk into any supermarket, drug store, Target or Walmart these days, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a seasonal aisle that’s not overrun by Marshmallow Peeps. This well-loved Easter basket confectionery has expanded from its color palette from traditional yellow, into a vast array of rainbow-bright chicks that have now commanded their own designated section on store shelves. (Whoever said it was bunnies that multiply?). As if the love of all things Peeps couldn’t grow much bigger, Yankee Candle has just released a Peeps Marshmallow Chicks candle just in time for Easter. One whiff of this scented springtime candle, and you’ll be ready to dive into your stash of Easter treats, long before the bunny himself arrives. This weekend, on Saturday, March 15th, Yankee Candle stores across the country will be hosting a series of in-store events to kick-off the candle’s launch, including photo opps, decorating tips and chances to win prizes. Yankee Candle will also be hosting virtual celebrations on Twitter and Pinterest to encourage Peeps fanatics to show off their Easter finery with decorated baskets and home decorating ideas. It’s a great excuse to say adios to winter and hello to spring!
In a Nutshell: Help usher in the arrival of spring (finally!) with everyone’s favorite marshmallow treat captured in a whole new “light.”
Because my 5-year-old is infatuated with all things bunny these days, Easter can’t come soon enough this year. And after the winter we’ve all just endured, I don’t mind adding some signs of early spring to our home decor. This season’s Pottery Barn Kids catalog is teeming with tons of Easter goodies to outfit your home in its Sunday finest. Top on our hunt for Easter finds that make a statement is a tabletop runner, and we’ve found just the one. The Peter Rabbit Table Runner features watercolor-hued illustrations taken from the pages of the classic children’s book: the perfect complement to any dining room that prides itself on timeless style.
And if you’ll be hosting the holiday this year, and want to turn your kiddie table into something special, may we suggest the Furry Bunny Chair Backer? They slip over the backs of most standard high-back seats and can be personalized with your child’s or any guest’s name. Suddenly, being seated at the kids-only table is something to envy!
In a Nutshell: These Easter decorations are sure to put a spring in your step.
Right now, I am listening to the ocean waves as they lap at my feet. The gulls are circling overhead as I sip from a cold concoction and inhale the tropical scents of coconut and pineapple. I inhale deeply and the intoxicating scent of salt mixed with sunscreen overcomes me…and then I wake up. Yes, my reality is that it’s snowing for the sixth time this winter (but who’s really counting), and my kids are yet again home from school. And since they’ll most likely be home again tomorrow, with frigid temperatures keeping us indoors, I’ll have to rely on my active fantasy life to get me through the next 24 hours or so. If this forecast is any indication of the next couple of months, then Yankee Candle’s Exotic Escapes is bound to be a best seller. Providing a small reprieve from the reality that is snow-covered, this family of five fragrances will make you feel like you’re somewhere warm and sunny. The line-up includes Ocean Star, Citrus Tango, Luau Party, Under the Palms and Exotic Bloom, each one more invigorating than the next. Of course, even the best-smelling candle won’t truly transport you to another place, so Yankee Candle is launching an Exotic Escapes sweepstakes that will award one lucky winner a trip to Grand Cayman Island. Enter online, anytime from now until March 26, 2014, and be sure to pack your sunscreen.
In a Nutshell: Time to bid Old Man Winter adieu with five new candles destined to have you longing for warmer weather.
No matter how many times we clean it, our family room still ends up looking like a storm blew through it. “What’s the point in cleaning up if it just gets messy again?,” purports my precocious 9-year-old. Despite her “logic,” I’d still like our home to resemble a somewhat civilized place. If you subscribe to the philosophy of ‘a place for everything, and everything in its place,’ but are looking for something a little more stylish than those acrylic bins from the dollar store, we’ve found just the source for you. Pehr Designs offers Petit Pehr upscale nursery and play room furnishings that fit into your home decor seamlessly and without pretense. The storage bins are roomy enough to stash a menagerie of stuffed animals, and light enough for a preschooler to carry and transport her plush pals into her bedroom (why should moms have to do all the work, anyway?). Fun throw pillows, like the Gotta Roll Fox Pillow, feature whimsical prints, while beautiful blankets and nursery pillows boast decorative accents that will render your own bedding dull in comparison. The Petit Pehr collection also includes swaddle blankets, crib sheets and other accessories to make your nursery or play room look like it belongs on the cover of a magazine. (Maybe now that you’ve got the kids cleaning up after themselves, you’ll actually be able to sit down and read one!)
In a Nutshell: Nursery and play room furnishings that turn chaos into order, one stuffed animal at a time.
When my younger daughter was in diapers, my legs got quite a workout. I was forever forgetting to bring an extra pack of diapers downstairs, and so made many a mad dash up to her room to grab a fresh diaper, wipes and other necessities. When I finally got my act together, I put together a small wicker basket filled with supplies. As tasteful as it was, this basket wasn’t entirely practical. I sometimes tripped over it when it was in the middle of the floor, and it never looked right in the middle of the dining room table. Now, if the Windel had been around when I was a new mom, my home might have looked a lot less cluttered, and I might not have stubbed my toe so often. This wooden wall accessory may look like a picture frame or hanging photo cube, but open the doors and you’ll discover a cleverly concealed changing caddy with plenty of room for a stash of diapers, diaper cream and more. There’s even a hidden opening that dispenses wipes, so you can grab a few in the midst of changing without missing a beat. And that means no chance of a stubbed toe.
In a Nutshell: A discreet diaper caddy that fits into your home decor. Add a photo of a proudly smiling mama, and the look will be complete.
Trying to get my 9-year-old to keep her just-cleaned room is neat is nothing short of a miracle. She usually “picks up” her room over the weekend (and I use that term loosely, mind you) and we’re lucky if we make it to Tuesday before it looks like a mini storm has made landfall exclusive to her four corners of the world. While I know as a parent I’m supposed to pick my battles, but truthfully I don’t think I can handle this for the next 10 years or so. Because I’ve always been a huge fan of kids’ products that do double duty, much like a multitasking mom, I was over the moon when my eyes landed on Mimish Designs’ Storage Beanbag. This comfy seat offers a place to read a book, listen to some tunes or just chill , while cleverly containing (and concealing) any kid contents. Simply unzip and open to reveal the interior. It’s roomy enough to hold up to 5,650 cubic inches worth of stuff, while not taking up too much precious space (the beanbag measures in at 30 inches in diameter and 17 inches in height). That means less mess and more time to sit back and relax…or better yet, keep that room in tip-top shape. (Yeah, Sweet Daughter: this means you.) The Storage Beanbag comes in 14 different colors, and is available in organic cotton, pure cotton and micro suede, and will begin shipping in June.
In a Nutshell: Sit down and clean up! Or vice versa. Take a load off the floor–and your mind–with a space-saving seat that looks great in any kids’ room, play room or dorm room.
So, what do you do when a blizzard bares down over the weekend and you’re stuck indoors? Shop online, of course. But not just for any old thing; you’ve got to make that precious time on the Web count for something (especially if we lose power again–bite my tongue!) If you happen to be looking for that special gift , be it for Valentine’s Day, a friend’s new baby or maybe something that points to signs of spring (wishful thinking), we’ve stumbled upon the coolest site teeming with unique selections. Bespoke Custom Gifts is all about presents with personality. From monogrammed kids’ sneakers, to a storybook-inspired birdhouse, each item is as different as the person you’re sending it to. Not only is this site ideal for one-stop shopping, but there’s an online personal shopper if you’re torn between an item or not sure how to personalize it. We can’t decide what we like more: the vintage book birdhouse (featuring a number of classic stories like Winnie the Pooh and The Wizard of Oz) or the baby map quilt (depicting a child’s home town and embroidered with a baby’s name). One thing’s for sure: they’ll make memorable gifts. And you’ll have felt productive on a snow day.
In a Nutshell: All gift-giving should be so easy. We’ve found our new favorite site for presents with panache.