Before having a baby I was always so clueless on what to get my friends' babies. Seriously, I gave some terrible gifts, like ones with dangerous sharp edges. I gave my nephew a Skuut Balance Bike when he was 1 that he just started using...2 years later. And even as a mom, I'm still kind of baffled about what Evie would like and how much I want to clutter up our tiny apartment, but I found a few things that I think any kiddo (and mom) would appreciate around the house.
(Side note: Evie is not realllllyy almost 1, but let's face it 9 month olds are hard to shop for- they are literally teetering between baby and toddler! I am in no way trying to rush her to 1. In fact, I would appreciate if you would slow down that whole growing up thing a little, Evie!
- A classic red piano so our neighbors hate us even more.
- A wooden tea set for tea parties with grandparents.
- LeapFrog Fridge Phonic Magnetic Letter Set - something fun to play with on the fridge that also teaches kiddos letter sounds and phonics.
- A doll after her mom's heart - the Liz Lemon doll.
- Clothes that parents wouldn't normally buy themselves - like these gold pretzel drop crotch pants (?!) and this adorable cloud t-shirt. Most of Evie's clothes are hand-me-downs or Old Navy mega sale purchases because I just can't bring myself to buy her expensive clothes that she will grow out of in a month. However, we received a few gifts from fancier stores and each time she wears her special pajamas or shirt we get so happy.
- Classic blocks for her to stack and knock over.
- A traveling play pad - Evie has not one, but two of these, but they are so useful! Whether playing at the studio or the park she has a soft, cute play area that is easy for her Momma to carry.
- A simple puzzle - yes, she will mostly just gnaw on the pretty shapes, but maybe she'll show signs of genius and stick the shapes in the right spots every now and then? Plus, even if it goes untouched for a few months, it will look great in her nursery.
- A happy mat to encourage more finger food meals with less mess and a goofy smile.
- Bath time fun with a cool little Submarine dude and Baby Bath Foam Letters and Numbers
- A super cool basket to keep all her toys in = a happy momma with a clean floor.
- A cozy elephant chair to dive bomb into and snuggle.
- These glow in the dark dudes will surely get just as many laughs from parents as the kids.
- A pully zebra toy to drag around the apartment.
- Socks! Evie is always losing socks, mostly because she hates socks and discreetly rips them off and throws them onto the Brooklyn streets. But who could hate these lamb knee high socks and these baby cabin socks? Don't answer that Genevieve!
- A cute tumbler that celebrates the upcoming milestone of using a cup!
- A membership to a zoo, local museum or park is always a great gift for families.
- Bongos! Jamie's daughter, Vivi, has these and Evie loved them. She gave one whack to a plastic toy drum and knew it wasn't the real thing, but with these she had a mini jam sesh, naked, just like Matthew McConaughey.
Did we miss anything big? I still need more ideas for family members asking what to get Evie for the holidays and for my precocious 3 year old nephew!
Continuing our theme of re-using leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving from last week, today we bring you the simplest day after Thanksgiving day lunch - the PB and cranberry! A lot of recipes that use Thanksgiving day leftovers, like this breakfast hash and this turkey and mushroom risotto, require you to go back into the kitchen and turn on the stove, which is the last thing I feel like doing after hosting such a big meal. I'm usually tired, extremely lazy and maybe just a little bit too hungover to make such intricate dishes the next day. I also generally don't feel like eating a huge lunch following such an indulgent dinner. Enter a new twist on an old classic.
Swapping in cranberry sauce for jelly is the perfect way to use leftovers without having to put on an apron again or just reheat the same meal you had the night before. It's easy, fast and filling. You could even pack it as a lunch to eat while taking a break from elbowing your way through a mall, if you're into that sort of thing. It's the perfect leftover meal suitable for kids to grandparents. The tart and sweet taste of cranberries is nice change up from the regular ol' PB and J we are used to. Plus, isn't it so pretty? The vibrant red color against the peanut butter just looks more classy and festive than the classic jam variety.
I like to eat mine, open-faced, but you could smush them together if you wanted. You could even shmear some leftover cranberry sauce on a bagel with cream cheese for an easy breakfast as well.
What's your go-to meal using Thanksgiving leftovers?
(Let it be known, if anyone wanted to make one those more complicated leftovers dishes for me while I nap, I'm down.)
(all photos via jamie grill photography)
It seems like stores these days can never live in the moment. It's hard to find seasonal decor for the current holiday because the next holiday decorations have already arrived. I went shopping yesterday and noticed Christmas music was playing in almost every store. I wanted to shout, "slow down people, it's not even Thanksgiving yet!" But it's so easy to get swept up in the hubub of the next big holiday instead of focusing on the present one - I even found myself humming some classic carols when I got home. So in an effort to live in the present, here are a few of our favorite recipes, crafts and Turkey Day essentials to help you get in the Thanksgiving Day spirit! It's a favorite holiday of ours and deserves it's own moment in the sun.
- Maple Bourbon Smash
- New England Express - a great party punch to make in advance
- Beyond the OJ Mimosa's for watching the parade in the morning
- Jack Rose Cocktail
- White Wine Holiday Glögg
- Apple Cider Mimosas
- Autumn Pear Moscow Mule
- Bourbon Ginger
- Holiday mocktails for your pregnant or abstaining guests
- Spicy Beer Punch
- Leftover Cranberry Sauce and Vodka Cocktail (A Bourbon version is coming tomorrow!)
- How to properly set a table
- A 40's inspired Thanksgiving Day playlist to listen to while you cook and dance in the kitchen or while you eat
- A gravy boat for every table
- Festive Wine bags in case you are in charge of bringing the wine
- An adorable Grocery Bag that will make those last minute runs to a crowded supermarket more bearable
- A genius tip for peeling garlic! (seriously, a game changer!)
- Pretty flowers to send to family faraway
- A great gift to bring to a hostess
- A water filter pretty enough for the Thanksgiving Day table
- and a trio of beautiful cheese boards
Hope this gets everyone in the mood for the upcoming Thanksgiving festivities. Let's remember to slow down and give thanks for everything we have this year before breaking out the tinsel.
(all photos, jamie grill photography)
Here's a trick AND treat in one for costumed kiddos who come knocking on your door this weekend. Instead of a bowl of candy for plunging their hands into (and then re-plunging and plunging again and maybe just one more plunge), surprise them instead with these festive balloon "piñatas." You're giving them candy, sure, but they're gonna have to figure out how to get it out!
PUMPKIN BALLOON PINATA How-To
You Will Need
- black and orange balloons
- wide-mouthed plastic bottle to use as funnel (optional)
- Sharpie markers in white and black
- small pieces of candy
- Stuff as much candy as you can into balloons. You can cut the top off of a wide-mouthed plastic bottle to use it as a funnel if you like - I did mine half with and half without and found both methods challenging but do-able in their own way.
- Blow up balloons and decorate with Jack-o-Lantern faces or the design of your choice.
- Set them out for trick-or-treaters and watch them figure out how to break in for the goodies. We used a thumbtack on ours, but as any self-respecting kid will tell you, there are many ways to pop a balloon...
The startling POP adds an extra Halloweeny spookiness to getting your candy out.
Vivi, my little lion cub, was a big fan of the cute pumpkin face and percussion-y sound they made...but was totally perplexed about how to get to that candy at the bottom. She figured it out eventually, though, and a serious love of Swedish fish was born. Welcome to Halloween, Vivi!
(all photos, jamie grill photography)