November 2017 | Olive and Tate

Preschooler Holiday Gift Guide

Yesterday was all about gifting my tiny babe so today we're talking preschool presents! My big boy is three and a half and into numbers, letters, building, counting, jumping and helping. On a totally unrelated note, I cannot believe I birthed him because I am absolutely not into numbers, building, counting, jumping or helping. Anyway! I put together a list of gifts that I think would really rock his world on Christmas Morning, including a few gifts that could be grouped together for a big theme - like creating an art station in his playroom or setting up a "Chef's Kitchen" so he can whip up a meal for me while I order up a pizza for him!

affiliate links are used in this post

Art Station 

1. Table Top Easel
Fair warning, there are a ton of Melissa and Doug items in this post because, in my experience, they are super well made, the price point is fair and they last forever. I have yet to be disappointed. We don't have a ton of room in our playroom, so a table top easel is ideal for us. I love the idea of setting up an art station for him to find on Christmas morning - plus, it's creative play and not another random toy. 

The Table Top Easel comes with a paper roll attached but this would be perfect as a backup or if you don't have room for the easel. We had a cheaper version of this earlier this year and Gray loved when I wrote his name in middle school style bubble letters and let him color them in. We burned through the smaller/cheaper version super fast so we'll be upgrading this Christmas.

3. Art Supplies
How cute would it be to stash buckets and bins with new scented crayons, colored pencils, stickers, erasers, chalk and washi tape all around the easel or paper roll for? Art supplies are always a hit at our house and I know this would really float his boat. 

Chef Station

4. Pots and Pans
Another themed gift could be a Chef Station complete with a play kitchen and all of the gear. I love this "stainless" pots and pans set because it looks just like the ones we have in our real kitchen.

5. Chef Gear
What's a chef without the chef ensemble? I'm digging those tiny oven mitts! 

This play kitchen is highly rated year after year and I can see why. The style is timeless, gender neutral and the set is well made. I know if we grabbed this for Gray it would hang on until Georgia was ready to play Chef, too. 
This could have been another theme gift with the Woodworking Bench below (and yes, I know the numbers are out of order, I blame the baby never sleeping at night for that) and I love the thought of a little work space in a play room. This drill set is by VTECH so the drill really spins and the toolbox itself is rigged for the nails to be hammered and screws to be screwed!

8. 3D Dino Alphabet Puzzle
I think this 3D Dino Alphabet puzzle is the coolest! I know Gray would need help with it but I really think it plays into his little STEM wheelhouse. Plus, how cute is it??

9. Woodworking Bench
Another Melissa and Doug standout, this tool bench comes with a functioning vise, tool rack, wooden tools, storage shelf and project ideas. 

10. Ok To Wake Clock
I'm not sure if this is a gift for him or for me, but the OK to Wake Clock is supposed to gently remind him when it is ok to pop out of bed and when he should stay put for a few more minutes. From the clock's mouth to God's ears. 

11. Magformers and 12. Magnetic Building Sets
The Magformer set is the more expensive/name brand version of magnetic building blocks but I'm not sure how much Gray will be into the idea so I may lean toward the cheaper "Magnetic Building Set" to test the waters. His dad will absolutely enjoy them, that I know for sure!

13. Photo Memory Game
Ok, how cute is this?? It reminds me of the alphabet book I made for Gray last year with all of his favorite things - this time I can make his first memory game with his fave things or people! 

14. Stack and Count Garage
Colors, cars and numbers, stacked together in order: basically my boy's dream toy. We'll be snagging this one. 

I've already professed my love for the Fire (especially compared to the iPad he used to play with) but I will say it again - we love this thing. I love that he has the ability to choose what he wants to play within my set parental controls and he loves that he can watch Monster Trucks Counting to his heart's content.

I am obsessed with the idea of Gray snuggled up with this fuzzy white polar bear sleeping bag on the floor of our playroom watching movies (yes, I know, he'll probably do that for three total minutes and then run laps around my house, but a mom can dream, can't she?!)

17. Alphabet Matching Puzzle
Another alphabet game, another Melissa and Doug toy, I really think this is a cute option at a great price point. 

18. Wooden Name Bench 
Perfect for teeth brushing, I love this classic name bench with animal options.

Happy shopping, friends! 

First Christmas Gift Guide

I'll admit that I have mixed feelings about what to do for a baby's first Christmas. With Gray, we didn't really get him much - he didn't need anything and, honestly, didn't have a clue what was going on (he was six months old). Things are a little different with our daughter Georgia's first Christmas because, while she'll care less about anything but eating wrapping paper, her brother is very aware that Santa is coming. With my big boy and his Christmas spirit in mind, I've been thinking about what Santa should bring Georgia. Currently, I'm bouncing around from things she needs, sentimental gifts and things she'll grow into. Just in case you're in the same boat, I'm rounding up a ton of ideas that cover all of the bases! Feel free to forward to the Grandparents in your life, too! 

This is my number one gift pick for Georgia this year. The activity center grows with them so that you can stretch the life out your investment and comes with all of the bells and whistles. Georgie prefers to be upright (thanks, acid reflux) so we'll be plopping her in this guy the second Santa delivers it.

I love the classic look of a wooden name puzzle, plus it's a sweet personalized detail to display in a nursery until baby is big enough to start chewing on the pieces.

A classic, but with a high price point, Sophie is an ideal Christmas gift. Our babes love to teeth on Sophie and she's a cult fave for a reason. 

I love a babe in a bracelet and a cuff style is so sweet on a chubby wrist. This hand stamped, gold plated bracelet can be engraved with baby's name, date of birth or initials. 

I think we must own one dozen LL Bean tote bags and every single one is monogrammed. Georgia absolutely needs her own, so it's on the top of her list. The tote is perfect for a weekend road trip to grandma's or to store all of her extra outfits for her morning at school (thanks again acid reflux). I'll grab her a small and the zip top is a must. 

Soft stacking rings shaped like farm animals that are perfect for tiny hands to grab and play with. I love the cute country feel to the fabric choices (like the red gingham feet of the cow!). 

A special, investment piece, I love the idea of a monogrammed or personalized toy chest. This chest comes in many different designs, colors and with personalization options and should be the gift that keeps on giving - I mean, what mom doesn't want a gorgeous place to stash all of these toys?? 

This sweet soother is meant to keep baby happy (and hopefully sleeping) while in the stroller, car or while traveling. Super soft and snuggly, it plays calming sounds to drown out the ruckus of having an older brother. 

The classic stacking toy in a wooden design, Melissa and Doug toys can stand the test of babyhood.

10. Walker
If you have an older first Christmas babe, a walking toy might be right up your alley. This zebra walker promises to grow with baby as a light up, musical activity center that grows into a push walker when baby is on the move.

11. Mocs
Baby's first shoe! Freshly Picked mocs are the hallmark of baby moccasins and a metallic pair for her and a cognac color for him would be perfect presents under the tree. 

Classic developmental toys that spin, twist and rattle -we have this set and love it. 

I am so intrigued by the Lulla Doll! My friend Ailee has one for her youngest and I rarely see a photo of her baby without her Lulla Doll. The Lulla is supposed to encourage longer periods of uninterrupted sleep and deeper sleep patterns by playing real life breathing and heart beat sounds for up to 8 hours. This mama of a six month old who has yet to sleep through the night will absolutely be snagging one ASAP. 

How sweet is this bedtime story book with your babe's name included? You can personalize with their full name and date of birth and the story is supposed to lull baby to sleep with it's rhythm.

I love this little wooden name train! Each magnetic train is personalized with baby's name plus an engine and caboose in rainbow colors - this would be so cute on baby's bookshelves until they are old enough to play with it. 

I think this little bracelet will be in Georgia's stocking, it's delicate and feminine and I just need to see it on her little hand. 

Perfect for a gift that can be used as decor in a nursery until baby is ready to play with it - you can choose from a ton of cute animals and have baby's sweet name engraved on the wooden rocker. I love the thought of this bunny tied with a big red bow under a Christmas Tree! 

A classic baby gift for sure! Personalize with baby's birth stats or the year of their first Christmas and you're all set. 

Happy shopping, mamas! 

What I'm Eyeing for Black Friday

Ok, friends, while you won't catch me waiting in line at midnight for a big screen TV (because, honestly, I am too damn tired for that kind of shopping), I will absolutely be checking in on a few items that I either love and want to stock up on or have had my eye on but couldn't justify the price tag. I'll be the first to admit that I like nice things but I also don't really love to pay full price, hence my love of Old Navy! I'm breaking my wish list up for everyone in my family and I've definitely covered items we need (hello, ComoTomo bottles), want, wear and would love to wrap up and put under the tree.

Let's start with yours truly, shall we?
This post contains affiliate links 

AG Jeans
My go to investment denim, I cannot recommend this pair and wash enough. The pair I have is sadly a bit small after baby number 2 so I'm snagging a new, fresh pair for my new, fresh thighs.

Matte Lip Paint
I picked up a sample size of the Tartiest Matte Lip Paint for my Sephora birthday gift and am in loooove. It's not drying and looks amazing on but it's a little pricey for a lip gloss that will live in the bottom of my diaper bag - fingers crossed for a good sale price!

update: shop here for 25% off with code PREVIEW

Lush Tunic
I mean, do I even have to say it? I have this tunic in white, wear it constantly (even when I was preggo) and need it in every color. I recommend it to all of my friends and no one has even been disappointed.

Update: down to $22!

Zella Leggings
I'm a recent convert to Zella leggings and I'll never look back. I bought my first pair of the high rise leggings during this year's Nordstrom sale and I'll be back for the moto pair that is already marked down 40%.

Update: on sale for $36!

Gold Pendant Necklace
If you love the gold pendant necklace that I wear pretty much every day but don't wait to wait for personalization (mine is monogrammed), this is a really gorgeous option.

Strapless and T Shirt Bra
I'll say it: I need new bras. I honestly think new bras should be a freebie given out at your six week post partum check up, but what do I know? I have a bra from ThirdLove (and did the online sizing, which worked perfectly) and am impressed with the quality so I'm going back for a strapless and t-shirt bra in my new size.

Shape Tape
I will never have enough Shape Tape. I'm fairly certain it's the only reason I look even remotely alive after six months straight of no sleep.

Tie Sleeve Sweater
This one is for my best friend, Megan, who loved this sweater so hard when she saw me wear it in Charlotte on our girl's weekend. I'm hopeful it will go on sale for Black Friday and if it does, she'll grab the cream and I'll double down on the grey.

Knot Tee
I own this tee in white and reach for it constantly - it's crazy flattering and layers super well so I'll snag another color it the price is right.

Update: on sale for $18!

And now for my babes, Georgia is up first because she is rapidly growing and oh, so hard to please.

Activity Center
So, I hear amazing things about this Activity Center but I think the price is a little shocking. It does grow with baby but this is a sale only item for me. Baby girl will love being upright and I'll love that she's off the floor and out from under her brother's feet.

These are our go to sleepers thanks to the zipper and the price - they are already marked down 50% so we'll see how low they go!

Enfamil/Nurtamigen Formula
Our baby is on Nutramigen, which retails for roughly $40 a can so when an email advertising an Enfamil black friday sale popped into my inbox, I made a move. Buy one case, get one half off works for us!

Baby Monitor
I just saw this monitor in action at Megan's house and we will be snagging this. The picture is so crazy clear and it can be converted into a security camera when baby outgrows it.

Convertible Car Seat
This is our go to convertible car seat and, while it'll be a few months before baby girls needs hers, I don't want to pay full price for one.

Update: a reader sent me this listing for the "blue base" color family for $141!

ComoTomo Bottles
She wouldn't be my daughter if she didn't love the ComoTomo bottles - I hope to do a full review of them soon but let's just say we only own two and we wash them over and over again, even in the middle of night, instead of using another brand. She's committed and so are we.

And for my sweet boy

There's a big boy room in the works and this navy bed was sent to me by a reader/friend....and you'll never believe where it's from! We have a queen mattress ready for him so this will be the start of his new nest.

We rock Natives all year long because he can put them on himself, they're comfy and they handle anything he throws at him. We've owned red, navy, neon green and Clemson orange and have no plans to quit.

Native Sneakers
And, so that we don't have to wear the regular Natives with socks underneath, I'll be snagging the sneaker pair and putting them under the tree.

Update: on sale for $26

My kiddo is long and lean and we have great luck with Old Navy jeans - this pair is already marked down 50% so I'll snag a few while I'm grabbing the baby's sleepers.

Gingham Sheets
Big boy room, part two! Navy and white gingham sheets for the win - classic and the perfect match for that navy bed.

20% off , free shipping use code UNWRAP

And a monogrammed striped seersucker quilt, because I can't help myself.

And last, but not least, my husband, who wants nothing but golf outings but needs new shoes

Noise Canceling Headphones
This is a little inside joke between us because he's always saying he needs headphones to hold Georgia during her witching hours and honestly, if you're going to rock headphones, they better be Beats.

The guy needs some sneakers to pair with jeans because, even though it's warm here most of the year, there really are months when flip flops just won't cut it

Driving Mocs
I noticied that his current pair of mocs were losing the little nubby things on the soles so I'd say it's time for an upgrade. He can wear these to work so they are for sure a win.

Oh! And our house!

Faux Fiddle Leaf/Faux Olive Tree
Everyone's doing the faux indoor tree and I'm feeling a little left out. I'm really digging the faux Olive Tree because it's something a little different but if the sale price doesn't cut it, the Fiddle is the winner.

Curtains are so dang pricey - but I have my eye on both of these sets for our house. If they don't go on major sale, I'll pass but I'm really, really hopeful I'll get lucky!

Lazy Susan
I'm trying to copy my friends Elise and Hope with this one - I've been searching for a wooden stand to put next to my kitchen sink to hold soaps, sponges etc and I love the look of this one!

If I find any can't miss deals, I pop them into my stories for you guys so be sure to follow along on Instagram

Surviving Holiday Travel With the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet

This post is apart of a series sponsored by Amazon. All thoughts, opinions and fave apps are our own.

Let's face it, one of the least treasured parts of the holiday season is all of that travel time. Traffic, weather and remembering to pack all of things can wear on a girl, and that's before she manages to produce her own offspring. Add in a preschooler and a six month old known for her distaste of sleep and this mama is worn out just thinking about it.

At this stage of the game, we try to avoid long road trips as much as possible, but when we do brave the road ways, I make sure we have entire cans of formula, ear plugs and our Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet. Gray is literally obsessed with his and, quite honestly, I think it has everything to do with his ability to access apps, books and games of his choosing (and by "of his choosing" I totally mean from a selection that I've pre-approved via the Parent Dashboard, but don't tell him that, he thinks he's King Of The Castle around here).

A lack of WiFi is the bane of my existence (even when I'm not traveling with my kids) but life has recently become so much easier. Why? Because FreeTime Unlimited videos are now able to be downloaded and then watched sans WiFi connection. Now books, apps and videos will be at his disposal for the length of our journey, no matter how many hours of traffic we sit in. In case you're considering snagging an Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet for a holiday gift, you should know that each table comes complete with one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited and the content is already pre-selected and divided by age category. 

If you (or Santa!) are gifting an Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet, you'll want to have a few awesome books and apps loaded and ready to roll so your little can see all of that magic from the second the wrapping paper is torn off. Also, if you're hitting the road to travel to Grandma's, you'll want your content library full/busting at the seams to take the sting out of that post holiday travel day. Here are some of our current faves:

Our Favorite Books:

Curious George in the Snow
Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses
Red: A Crayon's Story

Our Favorite Apps:

Disney Buddies ABC
Preschoolers ABC Playground 
Magic Letters
Kid's Paint

Our Favorite Videos:

Monster Truck Learning
Learn Colors and Play with Paint with Max the Glow Train, Jake the Fire Truck and Friends
Learning with Vehicles
Ethan the Dump Truck (Learn Letters with Ethan the Dump Truck)
Popular Nursery Rhymes with HooplaKidz
Learn Numbers with Lizzy the Dog

Because he is allowed to choose any content deemed appropriate by our parental controls via the Amazon FreeTime mode, I take a peek at what he's been up to via my Parent Dashboard daily. Here's a screen shot of my dashboard so you can see how easy it is to control and monitor their content exposure

You can see what they viewed and for how long - after looking over Gray's video choices, I'd say he's into monster trucks and numbers!

There is absolutely no access to the internet on his user profile but if I want to use my parent profile, I can surf the web, check emails or watch content through my Amazon Prime account, which is such a nice bonus, you know, for when he naps in the car.

A girl can dream can't she?

Safe travels, friends!

How to Build The Ultimate (Trader Joe's) Cheese Board

How to Build The Ultimate (Trader Joe's) Cheese Board

A charcuterie board is my go-to snack to serve when we have friends over but for some reason it seems to get the shaft during the Holidays. I'm not sure if we're the only ones who ignore the cheese board goodness when wrangling relatives but I'm here to say bring The Board back to Thanksgiving! 

My number one spot for all things apps/snacks/hostess with the mostess tricks is Trader Joe's. Their cheese section is by far the best of the best and they carry the best crackers, unusual treats and nuts at reasonable prices.

Shop my go to boards and slates:

I ran into Trader Joe's today, spent 5 total minutes in the store and, after a few minutes of assembly, I had this gorgeous meat and cheese board. 

How to Build The Ultimate (Trader Joe's) Cheese Board

I mean, you need that, am I right?

Here's what you need to make a little charcuterie magic of your own

I used two cheese slate boards shoved together in order to cover more square footage on my table, a few clear glass bowls, two vintage silver cups and a red ramekin or two

How to Build The Ultimate (Trader Joe's) Cheese Board

To build the board:

Sweet, fresh color

How to Build The Ultimate (Trader Joe's) Cheese Board

I always start building a cheese board with grapes. Unlike apples that brown, grapes can handle being out on the table for a bit without losing their texture. Trader Joe's has a box of green, red and purple grapes that provide color and please every palette. I start the board by laying out the grapes (on the stem), making sure to spread the colors across the board

Nibbles + Dip

How to Build The Ultimate (Trader Joe's) Cheese Board

Next, I fill my small bowls and ramekins with honey, olives, nuts, candied lemons and any other little snack I have laying around. I'm a huge fan of the tiny bags of olives because my husband is the only one who loves them so we don't need a jar, just a handful. The candied lemons are a new addition to this year's board and I love their look but also how they taste like a sour candy! 

How to Build The Ultimate (Trader Joe's) Cheese Board

Shop my favorite bowls and ramekins:

Once full, I place the small bowls on the board, nestled into the grapes. I also go ahead and place the silver cups that I'm using for my tall breadsticks and cheese straws so I can see the lay of the land but I'll wait until the end to fill them up. 


How to Build The Ultimate (Trader Joe's) Cheese Board

Up next are the stars of the show! My tried and true, go-to Trader Joe's cheeses are two goat cheeses (the honey chevre and the cranberry chevre), the unbelievably good slicing brie, two cheddars to please the traditionalists and a gouda. I have yet to spot a slicing brie anywhere but Trader Joe's and I cannot tell you how great it is to serve at gatherings. Trust me on this one and buy two, you'll need it! 

When laying out the cheeses on the board, don't be afraid to break up the hard cheeses and cut the soft cheeses into smaller servings. You can pull out the rest as needed and I love the rustic look of the broken cheeses. 

How to Build The Ultimate (Trader Joe's) Cheese Board

I like to serve the honey chevre with local honey drizzled on top - it is so delicious and is a nice balance to the sharper cheddars. I also make sure to pre-slice a few pieces of the hard cheeses so people start snacking ASAP. Sometimes you'll have a shy crowd that is afraid to dig in and no one needs an uneaten cheese board! 

Savory + Herb

How to Build The Ultimate (Trader Joe's) Cheese Board

My husband is a huge prosciutto fan and we love the thinly sliced pack at TJ. I pull each slice apart, bunch it up a bit and tuck it into open spaces all over the board. It gives the illusion that there is more of the fancy stuff without you having to break the bank to make it happen. 

How to Build The Ultimate (Trader Joe's) Cheese Board

The fresh rosemary is just a pretty touch of green to add to the board around the holidays - the fragrance doesn't hurt either! 

Crunch and Crackers 

How to Build The Ultimate (Trader Joe's) Cheese Board

If you've never snagged a box of Trader Joe's Cheese Straws, you are missing out! As a good Southerner, I used to make my cheese straws from scratch using Paula Dean's recipe, but that ship has long sailed thanks to the Trader Joe's version. I also love the Italian Breadsticks with Olive Oil and the Pistachio Pomegranate Crisps for spreading soft cheeses. The Crisps come in other flavors but give this one a try, it's by far the best! 

How to Build The Ultimate (Trader Joe's) Cheese Board

To serve on the board, I break the cheese straws and breadsticks in half length wise and pop them into silver cups. The Crisps are just stashed into any open spaces available so that one can be snagged from any angle. 

Once all of that goodness is out on the board, I take a step back and make sure I haven't forgotten anything, lay out a few cheese knives and let our guests get to work on it! 

How to Build The Ultimate (Trader Joe's) Cheese Board

Enjoy, friends, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Want more Trader Joe's goodness? Check out my Cookie Butter Brownie recipe here!

Wanna save it for later? Pin this:

How to Build The Ultimate (Trader Joe's) Cheese Board

The Perfect Thanksgiving Outfit

I rarely dedicate an entire post to an outfit (I leave that to my fashion blogger friends who really know what's up) but my recent Old Navy try on session was such a hit on Instagram stories that I couldn't resist showing you guys the end result. And, just in case you're worried, the end result did include make up, unlike the super real look I was rocking during the try on session. 

this post contains affiliate links 

Anyway! I am obsessed with the pieces I brought home and slapped them all on for our Christmas Card photo shoot. I mixed plaids, bundled up in sherpa fuzziness and rocked a raw edge step hem pair of jeans. And heads up - it was all so darn comfy that I highly suspect the entire round up will show up on Thanksgiving Day. My game plan will probably go a little something like: untuck that plaid tunic and ask someone to pass me another roll. Sorry not sorry.

If you're busty (me!), you might want to size up in the tunic - I'm wearing a large and will absolutely not be able to dry it in the dryer. One spin on the cotton cycle and those buttons will be Gap City. 

I'm wearing a 10 in the denim, which is a cropped ankle with a two tone raw edge. I always air on the side of small when choosing ON denim because it does have a tendency to stretch a bit during wear. The jacket is also a size down item, otherwise it looks a little bulky. It also happens to come in a vest which is adorable but I didn't see it in stores, so I wasn't able to try it on and give it a size test. 

And hello, plaid pumps. I'll be rocking these with jeans and a tee, a simple black swing dress and maybe even a pair of faux leather leggings through the New Year. 

Go ahead and check "find the perfect outfit for Thanksgiving" off of your to-do list and move on to more important things like "stock up on wine for Thanksgiving". You're welcome! 

Thanks for the pics, Courtney Malone Photography! 

Shop the Post Here:

Fall Entryway Reveal

I'm so excited to finally reveal another space in our home! 
Today I'm teaming up with Pier 1 to share our entryway. 

This post was sponsored by Pier 1. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

So, before we go inside, I have to tell you about the spray on my door! The faux foliage came in a bundle with the eucalyptus you'll see on my entry table. I really wanted to keep the color scheme of my florals in the space fresh and green so I separated out the eucalyptus - and was left with the rich yellow toned bunch and the burlap wrapping. I wrapped the ends of the stems in the original wire the florals were bundled in, repositioned the burlap and ta-da! A fresh take on a classic fall wreath. I love it so hard! 

Welcome, ya'll! 

The vibe of this house has really taken on a streamlined farmhouse/coastal chic vibe and I love the direction it's heading. None of our houses have ever had the same style, even though we use the same major furniture pieces in every house, and each of our homes has had a personality of it's own. I'm gravitating toward farmhouse accessories for this house but can't seem to stay away from the coastal vibe, as is evident by my new white washed mirror.  

I decided to cozy things up by layering two rugs with different stripe patterns together and by bringing in accessories that were streamlined but had a ton of texture. The pattern on the vase (which is actually a kitchen jar!) reminds me of a knit sweater and the woven pillow (by none other than Joanna Gaines) has a classic shape but a really luxe weave of different widths.

The little silver bowl is an antique that I've had for years and, is of course, filled to the brim with corks from our favorite bottles of wine. The little blue pot of succulents was a find at my local grocery store and I have my fingers crosse that I'm going to keep them alive through the holidays. I love the little vignette the two make when paired with the Pier 1 Primavera White Table Lamp (I almost snagged the Sky Blue version, but the white won out). 

I hope ya'll love this little space as much as I do. I want everyone who makes their way into our home to feel instantly welcome and comfortable and spending a little time on our entryway decor has made me so excited to welcome our friends and family into this home of ours. Up next, I'll be sharing our living room! 

Dear Dads, This Is The One Gift A Mom Really Wants

Hey Dads, Partners, Co-Parents, Spouses, Step-Parents and supporters of Moms everywhere:

I'm about to make your Holiday Season.

I know you think the mothers in your life are the hardest to buy for - I get it, trust me. We say we don't want anything (except maybe a damn nap) but, when it comes down to it, we really want you to deliver. And deliver big. Big as in sentimental, which is hard to snag on Amazon or rush with Express Shipping. But here's the secret: you can do sentimental, and do it well, for very little effort and zero money. 

Now I've got your attention.

We mamas want nothing more in this world than the knowledge that we aren't screwing this whole Motherhood thing up. We lay in bed at night and wonder if we've hugged enough, yelled too much, should have splurged on the organic milk and how we're going to pull it all off again the next day. Turns out, being a Mom is a real mind game. We love our kids to the point that it's physically painful yet we have little to no reassurance that we're doing right by them.

And that's where you come in.

If you want to deliver the most precious gift a mom could ever receive, ask her children about her. Record video of her babies babbling about what their Mommy does that makes them feel special, what their favorite thing to do with their Mom is and what their Mom does that makes them laugh. Let the videos be grainy, spur of the moment, un-styled and real life and we won't care. In fact, we'll love it more than anything, ever.

Think you can pull it off? 

I know you can! I'm even going to give you a little script and a quick How To and you'll be all set for the Season.

Tip: screenshot the image below so it's in your photo gallery! 

The Script
Here's a quick set of questions to ask your kids about their mom:

This Is The One Gift A Mom Really Wants

The Set Up
For toddlers and little kids, you may have better luck asking them the questions one at a time at random intervals. If you want to try to get this done in one shot, have some bribery on hand. I have the best luck getting my 3 year old's attention when he's strapped in the car seat - maybe give that a try for the wiggliest among us.

For bigger kids, have them sit in a distraction free space and ask them the questions interview style. Make sure to turn off all background noise and any screens so the video is as clear as possible. 

The Gear
You really don't need anything special to make this magic happen, just a phone that records video. Once you have the video clips recorded (keep in mind you can record little clips randomly over the next few weeks if that works best for you), download a video editing app and get to work. I think iMovie is crazy easy to use - you'll just drop in the video clips, edit them if you like and voila! 

Some tips:
Add a title like "Merry Christmas 2017" so that we'll know how old the kids were when we watch this video constantly over the next 50 years. If you really want to send her over the top, end the video with a little message from you, her partner, telling her how lucky your kids are to have a Mom like her. Bonus points for sharing how much you love and respect her. No pressure, but that will be the best gift you've ever given.

Save the video by emailing it to yourself, uploading to a DropBox account or publishing on a private YouTube channel and pull out the laptop to play for Mom on Christmas morning. 

You're welcome!

photo by Kimberly Michelle Gibson Photography

Gift Guide: For The Grandparents

Here we go, the number one, most requested gift guide for the holiday season is ready and waiting for you! 

After my latest Instagram poll, it's clear that I'm not the only one who thinks that the grandparents are impossible to buy for.

 If your parents and in-laws are anything like mine, they would love something sentimental, don't really want you to blow the budget on them (even though they totally deserve it!) and, quite frankly, don't need a darn thing! Oh, and let's be honest, if it isn't about their grandkids, then you can just forget it. Sound familiar? Then I've got you covered - from a revamp of the classic photo mug to hobby related gifts, here is my round up of the best gifts for the grandparents:

Disable your ad blocking software to view this content.
this post contains affiliate links

1. Salt Dough Ornament Kit
Is there anything more classic than a baby handprint smooshed into a salt dough circle and hung on the tree? We make one of these every year (until there isn't enough dough to go around) and etch the date on each one. My kids feel proud that they helped make the perfect gift for their grandparents and the adults love the sentimental touch. This kit is a whopping $8 and Amazon Prime eligible so go ahead and get it - you'll be glad that you did!

 Tip: this is a perfect activity to take to Grandma's house if you're traveling for the holidays. Make them on Christmas Eve as a family and hang them on the tree together on Christmas morning. 

2. Gold Charm Necklace
From my favorite jewelry maker, this is the perfect necklace for a Grandmother or Grandmother-to-be. Add a initial charm tag for each grand baby as your family grows and you can check her holiday gift off the list any year one of your siblings has a babe! 

3. Foil Print Family Recipe
This is one of the most unique and sentimental items on the list (and what I'm getting my own mother for Christmas, so don't look, Mom!) and I couldn't love it more. Minted will take a handwritten recipe and turn it into a foil art print, complete with your choice of frame style. My grandmother is no longer with us and I cannot imagine how special it will be to have her handwritten recipe for one of her classic dishes preserved, framed and on display in my paren't home. I'm lucky to have recipes written down thanks to this all-time-best-ever-gift from my Mom, and now I can return the favor. 

4. Classic Coffee/Latte Mug
A fresh take on the classic photo coffee mug, I love the shape and and style of this Latte mug! 

5. Personalized Golf Balls
For the Grandpa who golfs, personalized golf balls are the cutest! Add a photo of grandpa and kids on the golf course, a message, date or special saying and you're good to go. My husband would like you all to know that golf balls come in all levels of quality so check with a golfer before you invest in a ton of personalized balls.

6. Silver Engraved Baby Shoe Ornament 
The perfect gift for grandparents celebrating a new grand baby at the holidays, this silver baby shoe can be engraved on the bottom with baby's name and special details and has a heart charm that displays the year. 

7. Gold Picture Charm Necklace
Can you imagine anything sweeter than a photo of all of the grandkids together on an engraved gold charm necklace? If the grandchildren are spread across the county, have the techy person in your family photoshop all of their faces together into one image and voila! I can't think of a Grandmother who wouldn't love that. You could also do a photo of the grandparents on their wedding day for an extremely sentimental, non kiddo related gift.

8. Custom Monogrammed Silhouette
This is what we gifted both sets of grandparents last year and I was so, so happy with our silhouettes! You can see our end result here but the process is so easy - you just snap a photo (on your phone!), upload to Minted and they "cut" the silhouette for you. Once you approve the silhouette, you can choose the color, personalization and even have it framed. The entire process took less than two weeks for us, even though it was during peak gifting season, and I was able to style two different prints to match each family's home decor. I honestly want one for myself! 

9. Custom Watercolor 
How sweet is this for a non-traditional portrait option? Bonus: you can have a second print of your original water color made for $25 - so you have both families covered! 

10. Custom Home Watercolor Ornament
I love this custom watercolor home ornament for both sets of grandparents and for different reasons! My parents have lived in the same house for 20 years and having a watercolor of the home they raised their children in would be so special. On the flip side, my in-laws have moved quite a bit and have made each and every house a home - wouldn't it be fun to dig through old photos and gift them a watercolor ornament of each home they've lived in? I could space them out over a few years, guaranteeing perfect gifts for the foreseeable future! 

11. Photo iPad Cover
So, my parents got an iPad for one reason only: to FaceTime with my offspring. With that in mind, I can't think of a better gift for them than a personalized photo collage iPad cover. It will keep their iPad safe and show them the faces of their favorite people (my children) even when we aren't available to FaceTime. 

12. Personalized Hammer
For the handy-man Grandpa, I love this personalized hammer! Engrave it with a favorite project completed together or "Property Of Papa" so his neighbors always know where to return it after they borrow, I think this solves the "what to get Grandpa" dilema.

13. Matching Slippers His and Hers
Justin and I have gifted all 4 of our parents with a set of Ugg slippers and they were a hit each time. The quality is amazing, they hold up well, you can choose an option with a sole if needed and it's a gift that many wouldn't splurge on for themselves. 

My in-laws's rescue pup is their new baby and they are head over heels in love with him. Last year we gifted them with a silhouette of our son and I think it's only fitting that this year they receive a matching one with their gorgeous Golden Retriever's profile on display. Minted allows you to choose the color of the silhouette, the personalization and the frame - and the results are super high quality. Get ready for your close up, Crockett!

15. Photo Stainless Steel Tumbler 
Because the classic "World's Best Grandpa" coffee mug can't fit in cup holders for that commute to work (or the road trip to the grandkid's house!) this stainless steel version is a must. Cover it with pictures of the babes and you're all set!

16. Portable Photo Printer
Don't take this the wrong way, Grandparents, but you aren't always known to be the best with technology. My Mom is always asking me how she can get a picture that I published on my blog or sent her via text, and she doesn't mean she wants to save it to her iPhone camera roll. This tiny photo printer has insanely good reviews, is less than $130 and prints color photos via BlueTooth.

Happy holidays, Friends!