Top 5 Holiday Gifts for Tween Girls

As a mom of twin tween girls, I continue to learn what’s cool lit these days. It’s a never ending process, as things can turn from amazing to boring in a hot minute.

But, I have some good news for the upcoming holiday season!

According to my sources, the following items would make pretty much any girl between the ages of 9-12 happy campers come Christmas morning.

So…if you still have some shopping to do for the sweet little girls in your life (who are teetering on becoming full-fledged teens) you can start here!

(PS. I don’t have any affiliation with these products or stores, so it’s truly non-solicited.)

{ONE} Personalized PopSocket

A pop what?! PopSocket…it’s a phone grip, stand and mount – all in one. I didn’t realize how much I needed one of these until I recently bought one. It’s so much easier to hold your phone. Really, truly.

Here’s a good look at one. The bottom sticks right to your phone. And your fingers grip around the base. You can also get a mount for your car dashboard. But my girls aren’t driving, yet. We’ll hold on that – for as long as humanly possible!! >>
I know the girls will love having them for their silly selfies and Musical.ly videos. It makes a big difference for the reach-and-record. 🙂

Another cool thing about this brand is that they give to Parkinson’s research. Don’t you love supporting brands that give back?

PopSocket offers lots of fun designs, but I decided to go the custom route.

I uploaded a pic of Avery’s favorite bear (Mr. Fluffers) and made this for her. She’s going to freak smooth out. >>

Clara is more into monogrammed items…my Southern belle. So I hopped over to this darling store on Etsy to have one customized for her.

{TWO} Unicorn Fizzy Bath Dust

This gift is super girly and combines two favorite hits for tweens right now: unicorns and bath bombs! As a side note, anything with unicorns is “totally and utterly amazing.” And here’s a list to check out.

This fizzy dust is more like a deconstructed bath bomb. It comes loose in a plastic (non-breakable) jar that you can keep right on the ledge of the bathtub and scoop as desired.

Once this stuff hits the water, it releases a fruity fragrance. And more importantly, it FIZZLES in the water like some sort of magic potion!!

We bought a jar at a local boutique, but you can also get it here.

{THREE} Squishies

Clara has always had a funny obsession with squishing things. When she was a baby, I’d catch her squeezing packages of bread in the store as I wheeled her stroller through the aisle. Still cracks me up. So the invention of “squishies” is so up her alley.

Plus they’re adorable! >>

I don’t even know how the girls discovered these, but they wanted to give some to a friend for her birthday. I ordered online and when they arrived, we almost had to keep the gift.

It’s super calming and satisfying to squeeze these things – and to watch them slooooooowly go back to their original shape. My girls think it’s more fun than playing with slime (which is still a thing, too!)

PS. Slime ingredients make great stocking stuffers. (We don’t use the Borax recipe…we use use clear glue, baking soda, contact solution and food coloring / glitter for accents.)

{FOUR} Animal Onesies

This has been a longer-lasting trend than I had anticipated. The girls wanted bear onesies last year. We found some that were more like coats than jammies, though. They’re pretty thick. In fact, they wore them for Halloween with homemade TY-brand tags. Haha!!

Anyway, they wanted new ones to wear to bed, and the search was so much easier this year. (Trending, I guess!) I ended up finding these darling jams from Justice. >>

{FIVE} Board Games

While iPads and apps are still a source of entertainment for the girls and their friends, ol’ fashioned board games are making a huge comeback.

Here are a few on our gift list. >>

Spontuneous – No talent required, this song filled game capitalizes on the random lyrics that get stuck in your head. It’s a race to blurt out and play a crazy, updated version of Name That Tune but with lyrics as the challenge. It was the #2 Amazon bestseller last year, and is still wildly popular.

Not Parent Approved – Think Cards Against Humanity but in a clean, kid appropriate version. Crazy laughs and memories waiting to be made.

Hearing Things – Just new this year, this game is a lip reading challenge that involves wearing special headphones. Players take turns wearing noise cancelling headphones and have to guess what the other player is saying, as they read the phrases on the cards. Sounds sure to get lots of laughs – which is music to a mama’s ears.

That’s a wrap! What fun items would you add to this list?

XoXo with smiley emojis on top,

Kate

friday-favorites-01-1h54f2_zpsc7e1f4e7-2

Share

Five Beautiful Wedding & Anniversary Gifts

Hey, friends! For my weekly list of fun things to share, I wanted to dive into some gift ideas for weddings and anniversaries. June is the month for weddings, so you might be looking for some creative ideas.

Here are a few for us to consider!

{ONE} Pretty Address Book

If someone very dear to you has just gotten engaged, an address book would be perfect for a shower or early wedding gift. Here are two of my favorite finds:

{This book @ erin condren is so pretty – and it can be personalized!)

{This one is via Rifle Paper Co. – one of my favorite brands and has a cloth book cover with gold foil detailing and a ribbon page marker.}

{This is the inside cover of the address book above. Such pretty details.}

Any bride-to-be would love receiving a beautiful book that has been pre-filled with names and addresses of their family and friends.

They’ll be sending save-the-dates, invitations to showers and the big day, and then following up with handwritten thank you notes. So having addresses organized and handy is such a thoughtful gift. You could even tuck in a few “love” stamps as an added bonus.

P.S. This would also make a great gift for a high school graduate. My sister-in-law, Lisa, plans to do this for my niece when she heads off to college in the fall. In fact, she’s the one who gave me this idea in the first place!!

{TWO} Memory Keeper

Not to be confused with a high school trapper keeper, this memory book is a gorgeous place to record details of each anniversary from the first year all the way through the 60th. Details include writing prompts such as: how we celebrated our anniversary, our favorite things at the moment, memorable moments from the year and what we’re looking forward to.

My parents are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary next summer, and I was just thinking how cool it would be to read something like this…to see how their relationship grew and evolved over the years. They’re such an inspiration to me.

{THREE} Wedding Flowers

Fresh flowers are always a good idea when it comes to gifting. And if you can recreate the same wedding bouquet as an anniversary gift, that’s even better!!

Back to my parents for a sec…my dad loves giving yellow roses to my mom because that’s what she carried in their wedding. Isn’t that sweet?

{FOUR} Registry Leftovers

Many retailers keep wedding registries active for up to a year after a couple gets married, so you could shop for anything left on their list as an anniversary gift!

At the very least, you could double-check their china pattern or towel colors so you can coordinate a gift to match their home.

{FIVE} Save the Date

If you’re feelin’ up to a DIY project, you could tackle this super thoughtful idea. It’s a pillow that includes a copy of a marriage license. These instructions show you how to enlarge and transfer the image to the fabric. You could do this with a wedding invitation, too.

Another way to set the date in stone (or wood in this case) is to paint it on a rustic sign. This cute design includes the couple’s initials and wedding date. <3

That’s a wrap! I hope this gives you some fun ideas to think about this wedding season. Tomorrow I’m sharing a super easy recipe (and really cool jar) for homemade bug spray. Yes, it’s also that time of year. Sigh. We can manage, though, and smell good while we’re at it. See you back soon!

Blessings,

Kate

friday-favorites-01-1h54f2_zpsc7e1f4e7-2

Share

5 Fast (and thoughtful) Father’s Day Gifts

I’d like to begin this post by raising this (incredibly awesome) mug in honor of all of the dads out there. It’s almost Father’s Day!!

It’s time to properly celebrate the dad’s in our lives with fun gifts, silly cards and big bear hugs. If you’re still looking for a few ideas you can pull off in time for Sunday brunch, here’s a list of five go-to gifts. >>

{ONE} Daddy Bear Toast

You know the saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Well, this adorable daddy bear toast will win over both. My girls made mama bear toast for Mother’s Day, and I loved it. (Shown above.)

I think with a small adjustment to the bow, moving it from the ear down to the chin like a bow tie, you have the perfect breakfast to start Father’s day.

It’s as easy as it looks, too. There’s a peanut butter base with sliced bananas for ears and a nose, and blueberry accents for the eyes, and tip of nose.

{TWO} Sweets for the Sweetie

Sticking to the food theme for just a second…

My husband calls our girls little peanuts, so when I saw this idea on Pinterest, it totally caught my eye. Our twin girls made their own version…times two!

It’s so simple (just a small bag of M&Ms tied to a piece of card stock), yet it will definitely make our sweet daddy smile. This could also make any Papa smile, too.

If you’re not into candy, an apple would be a cute substitution. It could be from the “apple of his eye.” You could also say, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” 😉

{THREE} Snazzy Shirt

I know, I know. Ties and shirts aren’t the most creative gift, buuuut if you pick out a super soft, stylish polo like this one from Banana Republic, your husband, dad or father-in-law will definitely thank you. These shirts are some of my hubs favorite. He can wear them on the weekend or even to work.

And according to BR, it’s a “smart, handsome gift that will remind him of you every time he puts it on!” Snap.

You can shop them here or swing by your local store so you have it in time for this weekend. It’s not an affiliate. My husband just happens to really like these shirts. Lol.

{THREE} Personalized Beer

I absolutely love this idea…dressed up beer! You could print your own labels and wrap them around your man’s favorite beer. The ones pictured above would be perfect for a first-time daddy. (I hope the one for “3:00 am feedings” also has a shot of espresso in it.)

My husband would need labels for things like “driving smelly boys home from soccer” and “pre-teen mood swings.” Haha. Cheers to whatever milestones you’re living through right now!!

{FOUR} Photo Card

How stinkin’ cute is this?! My girls are all about the sidewalk chalk, so we might have to whip up a special message for our daddy and try this photo trick.

You can even print it out and glue it to the front of a homemade card – for keeps!

{FIVE} Experiences vs. Things

Perhaps one of my most favorite Father’s Day gift we gave our sweet Brandon was our time. And for a busy mom, teenage boy and two pre-teen girls, time away from electronics is PRECIOUS. Last year we went camping, and it turned out to be the best experience for all of us.

So…think about what kind of experience you can share and give to the dads in your life. It doesn’t have to be a full-on camping excursion. An invitation to coffee or a walk around the block without any distractions could be just the gift they need.

However you choose to celebrate this weekend, I hope it’s fun & full of love!

Blessings,

Kate

Share

Mother’s Day Gift List: To the Rescue

Mamas are such special people – at least the ones in my life. Every day should be mother’s day, IMO. But since we formally celebrate next weekend, I’ve been thinking about some gift ideas.

Flowers and candy are always a treat, but what if you want to give your sweet mom, or even your sisters and friends who are great moms, something a little different this year?

Or what if you’re on the receiving end of a gift, and you’re flat out of ideas for what to tell your hubs and kids to get you, because you haven’t had a moment to stop and think about it?!

Here are a few categories to get you started – along with some ideas for each. >>

{ONE} Practically Speaking: Inverted Umbrella

While practical gifts, such as vacuums and dusters, are probably needed around the house, there are some that fall into the category of fun and practical. Take this umbrella for instance. >

{Shop this crazy-awesome umbrella here.}

Everyone could use a good (and cute) umbrella. This one is not only adorable with its navy and white stripes, but also super handy.

It folds in reverse, so when you close it up, you don’t get drenched with water. It’s also much easier to get in and out of a car. I’m simply amazed at its ingenuity and simplicity. Lovely gift.

{TWO} Completely Decadent: A Lovely Infuser with Fancy Tea

On the other end of the spectrum is a gift idea that’s totally something you don’t need, but would enjoy having, none-the-less.

For instance, I love drinking tea. I’m usually cramming a pod into the Keurig as I’m running out of the door for to carpool kids or head to work. So I don’t have many slow, tea-sipping opportunities.

For the occasional moments of chill, though, I would look forward to sitting with a beautiful infuser. It’s nothing I would buy for myself, but I’d cherish it coming from my family. It would feel like an invitation to kick back and relax for a bit. Invitation accepted.

{You can get the infuser here and add some delicious teas from here! The Tuscan Garden loose leaf tea is really nice.}

{THREE} Totally Trendy: Potted Succulents

As an earthy, cool and super trendy alternative to a vase of flowers, a pot of succulents is a charm of a gift.

{Shop this cute planter here. Or make one yourself by painting a terra cotta pot with white paint and decorating with Sharpies – then plant a sweet little succulent inside.}

{FOUR} An Inside Joke: Graphic Tee & Funny Cards

Laughter can be a gift unto itself. And you probably have a few inside jokes with your mom – or your husband and kids. So a gift that hints at your joke or even spells it out on a shirt is always a good idea.

Here’s one I would personally love. >

{I have no idea where I first heard this phrase, but I literally say it every time my kids tell me something amazing or weird. You can get it at this cute shop. More hilarious tees are here…love me some Thug Life. That’s where I got my Mama Bear sweatshirt!}

Sometimes you don’t want to go the route of an overly sweet message on a card, so humor can be the best remedy. >

{Lol!! These cards are actually downloads you can grab here.}

{FIVE} A Heart-Melter: Anything Handmade

The quickest way to melt a mama’s heart is to find a way to push the pause button on time and capture it in a handprint or photo. A gift that archives childhood and the precious memories that go along with it will always be a winner.

There are so many ways to do this, but here’s one in particular that I really love. >

{Get the simple instructions for making this thumbprint charm here.}

That’s a wrap! Have fun shopping – or crafting. And here’s to a great weekend ahead. Hopefully you have nice weather in the forecast so you can enjoy some sunshine and soak up that vitamin D. Lord knows this mama could use some.

Blessings,

Kate

friday-favorites-01-1h54f2_zpsc7e1f4e7-2

Share

Inspiring Beach Takeaways

There were plenty of thoughtful takeaways from our recent trip to the beach, like the long chats with my almost-teen son, the laugher-filled games of Go Fish with my girls, and the quiet moments watching the waves with B. Those experiences are locked in my heart, and I threw away the key.

I also had a few tangible takeaways. So I thought it would be fun to shake out the suitcases and show you what made it home.

Some of these might even inspire a DIY project or two for you!

{SEASHELLS FROM THE SEASHORE}

Sand dollars are my favorite kind of currency. So I was pumped when I found this gem hiding in the sand on Shell Island. (It’s about the size of my palm.) I carefully tended to this fragile creature until I arrived home. Now that we’re here, I plan to display it in a shadow box.

sand dollar

{source}

{This shadow box is from Pottery Barn and inspired my idea. I love the monochromatic look.}

We also gathered a few other beautiful shells that I want to place on the mantel. While I was looking at all of the nautical items at Pottery Barn, I noticed this shell cloche that’s quite pretty. I’m thinking about making my own. Any ideas on how I could attach a stick to the base – so it would hold the weight of a shell?

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 4.19.42 PM

{A GOOD SOUTHERN READ}

There’s a darling bookstore in Seacrest, FL called Sundog Books. They had an entire section devoted to Southern fiction, which holds a sweet spot in my heart.

southern fiction

In addition to all of the titles you can make out in the picture above, I found a few other titles listed below that I’ve added to the reading queue. (You’ll notice one of these isn’t like the others. The book of lists falls into the category of my obsession with organizing. #cantstopwontstop)

Have you read any of these? If so, which should I read first?!

beach reads

{THAT SALTY BEACH SCENT}

I have a “thing” for smells, as I have indicated in previous posts. It’s true. I have quite the super-sniffer, which is probably why this salt candle is one of the best gifts I could have splurged on during our trip. It came from my new favorite store and smells like a breezy day at the beach with a slight hint of sunscreen. If you want to light up your life with this lovely fragrance, you can but it here.

sea candle

{PHOTOS TO HAVE AND TO HOLD}

Thank goodness my husband is so great with taking photos. He remembers to have his phone/camera handy at the most perfect times, which is why we had so many great pics from the beach. Now that we’re home, I wanted to find fun ways to archive these great memories. I found several options and wanted to share.

FamilySearch Memories: This mobile app is free and lets you capture all kinds of family memories for keeps. It’s a true digital scrapbook that includes the option to record audio interviews in addition to tagging your photos with family member names and locations. I think this would have been fun to use during vacation. Must remember.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 6.35.58 PM

Mixbook.com: You can easily make printed scrapbooks by selecting from beautiful templates and uploading your images into the pages. They start at about $15 per book, which is a good price compared to other companies I’ve seen.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 7.50.23 PM

online photo book

These are some of the beautiful travel-themed templates.

Smilebox: This is free software that allows you to create fun collages or slideshows (with music and graphics) that you can post on your social channels or email to your family. You can even create cards with your pics, too.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 8.04.05 PM

Chatbooks: If you’ve posted all of your favorite trip pics on Instagram or Facebook you can easily turn them into a Chatbook. They’re only $8 per book, which is the best price I’ve seen so far. It looks like you can also upload photos from your phone in the mobile or desktop app. This might be a winner.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 8.13.27 PM

Let me know if you’ve travelled anywhere recently and what treasures you brought home. I always love a good show & tell!

XOXO

-Kate

 

Share

Revved Up for Friday

Happy Friday! It’s the weekend of Bikes, Blues and BBQ in Northwest Arkansas, so the energy (and sound levels) are off the charts around here. Before we head on down to the excitement, I wanted to share a few discoveries of the week. Here’s my Five on Friday Wrap.

Blogged while watching the high school parade march down our street. Happy homecoming, Har-Ber High. Go Wildcats!

{ONE} Birthday Cheers!

My sweet B had a birthday this week. He’s only 6-months younger than I am, but the kids still think it’s funny that I’m the oldest person in the house. Yes, it’s funny – on some days. Other days I get to use it to my advantage. If I’m the oldest, I get to pick [insert movie, song, or dessert choice here]. It’s perfect. On Brandon’s special day, though, the day he turns “my age,” he gets to pick the good stuff – including presents. He’s not big on surprises. He wanted some fancy-pants cocktail glasses like they had in Mad Men, and we found these. Aren’t they handsome? If you have a special fella in your life, this would make a great gift. They’re even Brandon-approved.

{TWO} Another Magical Use for Lavender

IMG_4169

I’ve always been a huge fan of lavender. It smells divine and has so many uses. In fact, I just read it can help deter flies. This was a new one to me, so I had to share. If you rub a few drops of lavender oil (with an old rag) around the edges of your doorway, it keeps flies from coming inside. We’ve had countless trips in and out of the house lately trying to potty train Leo the puppy, so we could really use this right now. Shoo, fly.

{THREE} Pupdate

leo morning

Leo is pondering the day ahead – like where he’ll cop-a-squat.

Speaking of lil’ Leo, I haven’t given a pupdate in awhile. He’s up to around 10 pounds now. Such a big boy. We’ve continued with the puppy lessons at PetCo, and he’s now a champ with the “sit”, “down” and “wait” commands. I think “waiting” is the biggest miracle I’ve seen in quite awhile. Our trainer did some kind of voodoo mind trick on Leo. Our little dude was running around the room like a kid on caffeine, which I know is dangerous and is my point exactly. He was out-of-this-world wild with the crazy eyes and everything. Our trainer pulled out his magical treats, paired with his stern, calming voice. Within minutes, he had Leo not only sitting, but also waiting patiently to retrieve his snack. Wow. Just wow. Leo still jumps and nips at times – especially around new friends – but he’s sooo much better now that he knows to “wait”. I still think the command should have been “chill,” which is more accurate.

{FOUR} Hoppy Hour

We can’t forget about Rosie the Rabbit. And if you’re a rabbit owner like me, take note. There’s an actual thing called Hoppy Hour up in Minnesota. I don’t happen to live there, but a friend does. She takes her bun to a weekly gathering where tons of other rabbits and their owners gather for hay and coffee and a general good time. The bunnies bounce around and socialize, which is super important for their health. And owners can brag and/or gab about any issues they need to share. I’m so in love with this idea that I want to start one here. If anyone lives in this area and is interested, let me know! And if you don’t live here (or MN) you should start one in your area, too. Bunnies unite!

{FIVE} Writing Resources

Writing quote

Hey, if you’re like me and you love to write, why not get paid a little extra on the side for writing some great articles, poems or posts? A friend shared this resource with me this week, and I thought it would be worth passing along. Launch that Word program of yours, and see what pays off! If you have other go-to resources, be sure to share them in the comments.

Have a creative weekend, my friends!

-Kate

Fiveonfriday

Share

Friday Wrap: Five Faves of the Week

Hello, friends! We’ve had a happy and memorable week at the Andersen house filled with birthday parties, Valentine’s treats and jewelry-making projects. The fun keeps truckin’ this weekend with a date night, basketball game and possible visit to my brother’s farm. So what do you say we ring in this weekend already? Here are our favorite highlights of the week – so far!

{ONE} Neon Ninth Birthday

Avery and Clara turned nine this week and we had a glow-in-the-dark, neon party to celebrate. We used black lights and tons of neon decorations to create a glowing good time.

Neon Birthday

Top left: Avery and Clara getting their dance poses ready; top right: dance party U.S.A.; bottom left: That would be Brandon getting the DJ booth ready; bottom right: My son and his best friend getting into the spirit of the night. They were brave to hang out with screaming and dancing third grade girls all night.

Glow Stick Chandelier

I had to show you the glow-stick chandelier I made! Look at the center of the pic. I took a garden hanging basket and hung it from the ceiling. Then I hung glow sticks from the rim. It turned out to be one of my favorite decorations of the night (other than the neon paper chains made with poster board! That took the prize for the least-expensive-highest-impact decor.)

{TWO} Monogrammed Sweatshirts from Initial Twist

Okay, y’all. My friend Karrie has a business called Initial Twist where she does applique’, embroidery and vinyl designs on the most comfortable shirts in the world. She can pretty much do anything, so message her through her Facebook page and she’ll hook you up. Tell her The Neat Nook sent you!

Monogrammed shirts

I ordered these cute, monogrammed shirts as birthday gifts for the girls. So cute!!

{THREE} Kate Spade Inspired Earrings

If you’re looking for the easiest and prettiest DIY project this weekend, you HAVE to do this. A sweet and super creative friend of mine showed me how to do this one. The best part, they look just like Kate Spade earrings, but will only cost you about $5 total. Not. Even. Kidding.

Glitter Earrings

This is all I did…took these fun earrings from Walmart and painted a layer of clear polish on top. I sprinkled glitter on top, let it dry and did a few more layers (paint then glitter) until my desired look!

{FOUR} Mother & Daughter Necklace

I received an early Valentine surprise from my darling husband. I showed him a picture of this beautiful necklace by Erin Pelicano on Pinterest (because I was so touched by how sweet it was) and he ended up ordering it for his special girls – that would be the twinsies and I. I’m in love all over again. That guy. I tell ya. <3

Mother Daughter Necklace

The smaller hearts have an A and C stamped on them for Avery and Clara. My own heart is the one melting.

{FIVE} Strawberry Heart Kabobs

The kids had their Valentine’s Day parties at school yesterday. I volunteered to make sweet treats, and ended up making this easy-peasy strawberry number. It was a hit – and didn’t send the kids spiraling into too much of a sugar craze. Win-win.

Strawberry kabobs

I found short bamboo sticks in the Martha Stewart party section at Walmart. The trick for the strawberries is to scoop out the tops. Then when you slice them in half (which is all you do), they look like little hearts. I slid them onto the skewers and served with fresh whipped cream. Yes, please!

I hope you have a fun weekend planned and have an extra sweet Valentine’s day!! If you want more details about ANY of the things mentioned above, let me know and I’ll either email you the deets or post more details next week.

Be sure to check out the rest of the ladies on Five on Friday. I know they’ll have fun things to share, as well!

FiveonfridayXOXO

-Kate

Share