Top Picks This Week

Happy Thanksgiving! Some last minute tips (& weekend sales picks)

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating! I’m pulling some favorite tips from the archives today. Even if these last couple of years have looked very different, there are some traditions I know we will all be clinging to this week.

I also wanted to say thank you for reading. I know I’ve been posting less in this time, but I appreciate many of you coming back here to check in and say hello. I really appreciate it!

Here are some last-minute suggestions for those of you who will be gathering with friends and loved ones this holiday. May you find yourself enjoying it however you have wished…

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Gift Guide: For the Kiddos

Children are the most fun to shop for! I’m always thinking about them, even if mine have started being more specific with their requests. Here are some gift suggestions for the kiddos… 

MakeDo Construction Kit. They can get to work immediately (all the boxes!). Bonus: they might stop using up all your tape.

Magic Butterflies. Place a few in a book for a beautiful surprise. Their little minds will be blown!

Kiwi Crate Pinball Machine. My kids would love to build their own pinball machine! There’s a cute, customizable one by Plan Toys, too, but we’ve had a lot of successes with Kiwi Crates at all ages. Giant bubbles looks great, too.

Smiley-Face Basketball. Because it will look cuter when you trip over it on the floor.

Adjustable, color-in-able inline skates. You can use these over five sizes of growing feet. Brilliant. Don’t forget wrist guards, knee-pads and and a helmet! Scooters, skateboards, and—for the youngest—balance bikes are great holiday gifts, too.

Treasure Blocks. For the mini-hoarders… er, collectors. (So. Many. Collections.)

A dollhouse to match your own home’s style. These are strong enough to sit on, if pretend turns more King Kong than Marie Kondo.

Bath Toys are always a good idea. Kitpas bath crayons are great. Unicorn Poo bath bombs might be a winner even with a tween.

Friendship Bracelet Tattoos. Oso & Me sells the cutest patterns and all their temporary tattoos are awesome.

Perplexus Maze Ball. It’s basically a 3D marble run: you shift, flip, and twist the sphere to guide the marble on 22 feet worth of track with a series of barriers. It does make some noise as the ball rolls around, but it’s pretty unobtrusive.

My Calendar. A beautiful piece that can be toy or art, depending on where they’re at. (Sold at Bitte online, but it’s a lovely, local shop if you’re in Sacramento.)

A first watch. Here’s a round-up of some favorites. Tip: Go for waterproof.

Mancala. I love this game of strategy and recall playing it at my elementary school playground. It travels, has a simple and pleasing design, and you can use pebbles if you lose a piece. (Here’s an old post about the game.)

Pretend-play clothes. (These Meri Meri Dress-up pieces are so cute! And I love the knitted scarves! Like a Puppy or a flamingo or an alligator! Gah!)

You, Me, We. (Hudson and I have been slowly filling in these books together).Us: A Compendium has a similar vibe. Some other winners recently: Silly Jokes for Silly Kids (Because “you’re so silly” is the highest compliment), the Ramona series, Percy Jackson novels, and Mac B Kid Spy. And don’t forget the gift of books in general! Give them a ticket for a date to get their very own library card, if they don’t have one yet. Or wrap up some small bills and take them shopping at a used book store.

Not pictured: Other perennial favorites at our house are Real Origami Paper (it matters), A responsive Yo-Yo (Hudson tells me that the Fizz is the absolute best for beginners), Rubik’s Cubes (all with the help of some YouTube tutorials), and all kinds of soft, fuzzy dolls for snuggling.

What are the children in your life asking for this year? 

P.S. The best children’s gifts are timeless enough to please year after year. If these ideas aren’t working, take a look at these gift guide from the past few years. The link is below each image.


2018—Skyler circled that door-pong in a catalogue this year, and they still play with magnatiles

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The Weekly Digest

I came across a holiday card from Paper Culture where a 2021 timeline is shown to reflect how the months felt—fast or slow—with the last six months especially drawn out. It’s funny, I think the perspective would be flipped for me. Time is racing by right now. How is it for you?

I can’t believe my last post was around Halloween! Thanksgiving is next week and then I know the next six weeks will feel like six days. I’m trying to remind myself to slow down, appreciate these special holi-days, but sometimes it’s hard. There’s a lot of magic to make, so to speak, and even if I always feel like it’s completely worth it and lots of fun in retrospect, I’m feeling a little tired right now. Does that sound too bah humbug? Hopefully this coming Thanksgiving break will be the ease into the season I need.

I’ve gotten a few emails about making a new gift guide and I’m going to try to get one up over the weekend, but I tend to get obsessed with making them just perfect to the point that they take me forever!! Just in case, please check out these archived gift guides. Most of the links still work or will at least lead you to a good idea. Honestly, I return to them over and over myself for ideas.  I’ve also added more items to the Shop widget.

As to what’s been going on since I last hopped on here… a lot! Halloween came and went and I had so much fun sharing Aron’s and my costume. The kids wrapped up fall sports seasons—it was the first time Skyler did a team sport (soccer) and Hudson played both baseball and soccer. We celebrated Aron’s birthday with a family trip to Apple Hill and a date day for the two of us in the bay. Skyler got braces on her front four teeth (cute!) and both kids got their first Covid vaccines. And we joined friends for a week on Maui! I sort of can’t believe we were just there.

What will you be planning for Thanksgiving this year? And will you be getting your holiday shopping done early?

Have a great weekend! Some links of note… 

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