Reindeer In Here book and plush #GiftGuide

Not everyone is a huge fan of “Elf of the Shelf”, for various reasons. Some people don’t like the elf’s antics, some feel that the kids should not have bad behavior reported to Santa. While I have no such qualms (and our Elf does NOT get into mischief that takes hours of prep time and then more to cleanup, thank you) there is a cute alternative or addition to the Christmas Elf.

elf on the shelf

According to RIH, “Since its 2005 release, Elf on the Shelf has proven to be both a Christmas tradition and commercial success, leading holiday sales charts each year. As time wore on and its popularity grew, the story began to receive criticism from both parents and experts on child psychology.

Owner and creator of Reindeer in Here was looking for a Christmas tradition to start with his own family after the birth of his daughter and quickly discovered that he too became one of the parents questioning the elf’s effectiveness. REINDEER IN HERE is his attempt at providing a friendlier, more positive tool for parents and children to get into the holiday spirit.  As the children bond with their Christmas friend the entire family creates a lasting Christmas tradition as everyone looks forward to REINDEER IN HERE coming back year after year.
(more…)

Must Have Farm Toys from HABA

Disclosure: The below was provided to me to help facilitate my review. All opinions are my own and honest. I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC Guidelines. Please see “Disclose” and “Terms of Use” tabs for more information

We are from rural America and even live on a farm. I must tell you that finding cute and fun farm toys can be very tricky. I must say that these are the perfect addition to our household as the winter months will be keeping us inside more. Check out these great farm toys from HABA.

About HABA:

At HABA, kids rule. You won’t see a lot of them running around the factory, but their needs and wants are foremost in the company’s mission. HABA is owned and operated by the Habermaass family for more than 80 years. The HABA USA division is located in Skaneateles, NY, a quaint town in the Finger Lakes area. HABA prides itself on the fact that children love playing with their toys.
(more…)

Sudara Clothing – ethically made and helps women #GiftGuide

If you are anything like me, you like to shop as ethically as possible. Most companies and stores don’t give a fig about you, me, the environment, or anything other then profit. So, when you know brands that give a darn, they are ones you tend to do your shopping with.

give back

I’ve recently discovered Sudara. This brand came about because of a desire to help women escape sex trafficking in India.  12 years ago, Sudara partnered with a sewing center in India and taught six women how to sew a pattern for pants. The previous year,  founder, Shannon Keith, had returned from a trip to India and heard story after story of women who were sold into sex slavery. She also heard stories of women who were at a high risk of being forced into the sex trade by their families or picked up off the streets by local pimps. The reasons they were at a high risk? Because they lacked an education or the resources or the skills to, truly, have a choice.

She returned home from that trip and formed a small team of family and friends. They have since made 10 sewing centers and hundreds of women have found both freedom and living wage employment.

The pants are awesome. Comfortable, easy to wash and wear, pretty, and unique. The are no sacrifice to wear, and it’s great knowing that my purchase is helping other women and supporting a company that does good in the world.
(more…)

Stocking Stuffers for Teen and Tween Boys #GiftGuide

 Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for pre-teen and teenage boys? Since (lets just be real here) boys are pretty gross in general, a personal care kit won’t go astray.  There are several kits to choose from by Prep U that help that “smelly boy” syndrome.

boys deodorant

It’s a fact of life that boys eventually start to smell. No matter how cute or precious they are, they begin to mature, their hormones change and odor caused by sweat and dirt naturally begins to appear with varying degrees of intensity. The idea for Prep U came from a frustrated mom of two active, smelly sons who couldn’t find a suitable solution for her boys. The only products currently on the market were designed for babies or left her kids smelling like a couple of frat boys. She created Prep U, a line of personal care products that are the perfect antidote to smells of boyhood, offering parents natural, quality products they can trust and kids a line of products that celebrates their growing independence.

(more…)

Marketplace Africa – Eco Friendly Gifts That Give Back to the Community #GiftGuide

If you want to shop sustainably this year, support small business, or like to avoid big box stores, I’ve got a shop for you. If you just like unique and high quality products at a reasonable price- this is a shop you will love. Marketplace Africa has clothing, bath and body products (and I’m in love with some of these already), purses, bags,- really, gifts for everyone on your list. GREAT hostess gifting as well. Thoughtful gifts anyone would love to receive.

This online platform lets Africans can sell their one-of-a-kind handmade goods to the US, UK and entire global market.  Now customers seeking to purchase a unique gift this holiday season can feel good as they are buying directly from the source in Africa which in turn helps boost the economy. The site offers fabulous products in fashion, jewelry, handbags, body care, and select home décor items.
(more…)

Gifts for the Active Men in Your Life #GiftGuide

If you are anything like us, you want to be active and outside as much as possible. Colder weather complicates things, but not to worry. You can get outdoors and enjoy your vitamin D year round, just bundle up a bit. Check out these functional and eco friendly cool-weather options we are loving right now- they would be perfect for the active men in your life this holiday season.

eco friendly clothing

Stopping off at Trader Joe’s on the way home- active wear that is great as any wear

The perfect slip on shoe for indoors or out, the Original Stegmann is not only comfortable, but also functional. They are great for camping, running errands, and everything in between. They have fantastic arch and toe support, so if you have aching feet, issues like Plantar Fasciitis, or a bad back, these might be worth considering. They have free shipping and exchanges, so nothing to lose. Made with a Tyrolian & Merino wool blend into a single piece, it is then paired with an anatomically contoured cork sole that is balanced for both arch and metatarsal support. These shoes have a gentle slope which helps reduce ankle and back pain as well. These shoes as a whole are designed for comfort, so if that’s your thing- and honestly, whose isn’t- check them out at https://www.stegmannusa.com . Prices vary.

A brand we have really fallen in love with over here is Mountain Khakis. Not only are the products soft and durable, but the environmentally friendly fabrics and practices have completely won us over.  Take for example the Rainmaker Jacket. It’s all sorts of wet-proof (rain, snow, mud, etc), and it’s strechy as well. It’s also warmer then some raincoats, without being swelteringly-sticky-hot like so many can be. A nice medium-to lightweight, and easily layered. It has a removable hood, with welded seams and snap-closed patch pockets.  It has a relaxed fit and hits about the hip area. Best part? The eco-friendliness of this jacket. Polyurethane is a greener alternative to the traditional raincoat’s vinyl. It’s also more durable and is better for the environment in long term care and use. Polyurethane does not require the chemicals used to soften vinyl in the manufacturing process, and is eventually biodegradable, where as PVC (vinyl) never breaks down, and is usually incinerated.  This leaches toxins into landfills and emits carcinogenic dioxin into the air. Any reason to choose PVC over PU? Not in my book. Check out https://www.mountainkhakis.com for your jacket, available in several colors, for $139.
(more…)

Love To Travel? You Will Love These Bags

If you love to travel as much as we do, then you will love these bags. Good for overnights and weekends at Grandma’s, they are just as useful for long trips.

have sippy will travel

The National Geographic luggage line by Eagle Creek is extremely durable, with weatherproof tarpaulin outer that makes the pack easy to wipe clean both inside and out. What’s not to love about that? Especially if you have kids- but anything you are dragging around is bound to get dirty, all the better if it’s easy to clean up. Since it’s easy to clean, it makes sense that the zippers are water resistant (and self repairing!). These lockable zippers have protection from thieves, wind, water, and more. It has a laptop compartment that can also be locked, as well as zippered mesh pockets and key fob. You can separate your dirty or wet items from clean items and main compartment with the front zipper compartment, and there is even a hidden space for your passport, wallet, phone- whatever items you want to keep close and safe.  Designed to be secure, it has compression straps, internal gear attachment, D rings, and it comes with an emergency whistle and spots that reflect light to help keep you visible.  Several types of bags available, prices vary, see https://www.eaglecreek.com/national-geographic for options.

The Wayfinder Waist Packs from Eagle Creek has been crazy useful, I’ve used it pretty much nonstop. It comes in two sizes, small and medium, and it’s great for going hands free. And shoulder free- I get so tired of dragging stuff around on my back sometimes, and it’s often inconvenient. Biking, climbing, kayaking, whatever. If you only have a few things to take with you, the Wayfinder is perfect. High capacity, quite a few compartments and zippers for organization, water resistant, and just all around easy. The water resistant coating? It’s made from recycling the PVB coating in windshields. Really. It also makes them stain resistant, which any parent or traveler will love. $30-$40 at https://www.eaglecreek.com
(more…)

Get Cooking With Pop Oh Ver

My kids love to play pretend! From princess adventures to playing school; the seem to have the most fun when they make use of their imaginations. Playing in the kitchen has always been a big hit with all of my kids. When they got to try out a few fun sets from Pop Oh Ver they declared them all to be a lot of fun for their little kitchen play sessions.

My youngest daughter is all about sandwiches, so she was more than happy to get her hands on the Pop Oh Ver plus play food set . It has all the fixings to make a soft and squishy sandwich. She has had so much fun offering her little brother sandwich after sandwich and a hotdog here and there too.

The Pots and Pans set and the Master Chef set have been intriguing to my oldest daughter, who loves to help mix things up in the kitchen. I love that the pots and pans set contains a nice assortment of kitchen necessities to keep the kids entertained, and playing with enough variety to mix things up and enough toys to go around with 4 kids! The Master Chef set is a cute addition to the kitchen. I love seeing my kids dressing up like a little chef!
(more…)