Monday, December 28, 2009

The loot.

My boy was sure happy that Santa brought him his "books-that-have-games-and-books-that-have-words" (Leapfrog Tag Reading System) and his "glower" (Crayola Glow Dome), but wouldn't you know, his favorite item out of everything was in his stocking, a $2 item "Santa" picked up at Michael's. I could have gotten by with just $2 this year, and I think that kid would've been just as thrilled. I bought this liquid/glitter filled baton (in boy colors, of course, of blue and orange) that was an immediate hit. My husband looked at me like, I can't believe you bought our boy a baton, but I just came back with a stare of I-can't-help-it-that-this-Santa-is-so-brilliant-and-knew-it-would-not-be-used-as-a-baton-but-instead-as-a-weapon/scepter/walkingstick/etc. Oh, the things that make our kids the happiest. And sure enough, after it was all said and done, my boy was back to playing with his favorite old wooden blocks most of the day.

Christmas for me is much more about giving and receiving. I love love love to give gifts, but I would be just as happy with no gifts for myself. My husband and I don't give gifts to each other at Christmas, which I really actually love since we never really need anything, and, of course, it saves money as well, but I always receive a few gifts from my mom and my family, and a few of them this year I just had to share. Some highlights of what I got for Christmas:

Oh yes, I totally asked for this one, the first time I've ever requested an "as seen on TV" item! But folks, I love it already!

I was at a cooking class a month or two ago, and our hostess had one and raved about it. Since all of my potholders are kind of sad-looking, and none of them cover my whole hand, I was sold on the idea. Our oven is a convection oven and a bit smaller inside than most standard ovens, and I am always a hair's breadth away from burning the backside of my hands when I am putting some of our larger pans in the oven. My particular Ove Glove doesn't have the silicone grips like in the video though. My mom got it at Walgreen's, much to my husband's delight. He is somewhat of a Walgreen's connoisseur, of which we tease him to no end. I'm thinking I might have to ask for a second one for my birthday, since then I would be able to safely load the turkey in the oven next year with no problems at all. Ha!

I promise not all of my gifts were kitchen-themed, but my mom also gave me this beauty. She was going to wrap it up for Christmas, but I ended up deciding to make a pie to take to our family lunch, so she gave it to me two days early so I could use it. I only have a glass Pyrex pie dish, but I had been wanting a deep dish pie dish with fluted edges (just 'cause they're pretty). She bought me this one, and I love it:

The dish is beautiful in person -- turquoise and brown pottery. It's handmade in Washington, and it is lead-free, dishwasher, oven, and microwave-safe. I love the fact that it was made in the good ol' U.S.A. And on the bottom is etched a recipe for "Apple Crunch Pie", an easy and delicious recipe that I went ahead and used, and the pie ended up being a big hit -- no leftovers.

This next gift from my brother and sister-in-law (who am I kidding, props go completely out to my sister-in-law for this one since I know my bro didn't do the shopping) is also going to get lots of use in the kitchen...

an adorable apron from my favorite designer lady, the uber-talented Anna Maria Horner. Believe it or not, this Anthropologie-lovin' gal only owns half-aprons, so this full apron is going to get a lot of use, especially now that I've honed my domestic goddess skills and cook a lot more often than I used to.

And I plan on ordering this with my Christmas cash:

This lens has a lower aperture than either of my other two lenses, and it's the only affordable one out there for me to try, as the lower the aperture number goes, the pricier the lens. I'm hoping for some awesome pictures with blurrier backgrounds.

A few of my favorite things I gave as gifts were Etsy purchases.

For my sister-in-law, I purchased this:

-- a "Keep Calm and Carry On" necklace from Etsy seller Storytales. Do you know the background story to this famous poster? Pretty cool. And just as appropriate for a mom of three boys under the age of five as it was for a country trying to motivate their citizens during a time of war, don't you agree?

I also purchased two of these, one for my boy and one for a nephew:

-- "I Spy" bags from Etsy seller Giggle Junction. (Check out the astronaut one they have for sale right now -- super cute.)

They are flannel bags, 7"x7", filled with plastic pellets and 20 miniature objects hidden inside. Children can use their hands to shift around the pellets to reveal the hidden objects in the plastic window. There is a laminated card attached with a picture of all the hidden objects. I figure this will also be a handy quiet toy to have when the boy is sitting through the church services with us. Plus, it just earned me some bonus points with my sister-in-law since I bought a quiet toy and not a loud electronic battery-sucking one for her kid.

I was inspired by many of my favorite blogs and all of the bloggers who took the "handmade pledge" this Christmas. I may never be able to fully take a handmade holidays pledge myself (that would require lots of thinking ahead and way less procrastination on my part), especially since I have a feeling that as my boy grows older, his "wish list" might not include much that I could make, but I am going to try to buy more and more from independent artists and less from the big box stores and plastics from China. This is a start, anyways.

So that's it, the "loot" at our house. And this year, just like every other Christmas and birthday, I loaded up every gift the boy got and put him in front of it for a picture, what we always refer to as the "loot picture". My parents did this for us every year, and it has been fun to look back through the pictures of my childhood and remember some of the favorite gifts we received throughout the years. Hopefully my boy will appreciate this as well someday.

I hope your Christmas was filled with fun gifts, too, but mostly the kind of gifts that matter -- like the gift of Jesus, the gift of time with family and friends, and the gift of time off!


31 everything said...

Enjoyed this post :) That turquoise dish is gorgeous. Never seen one like it. I may need a "keep calm & carry on" necklace for myself. I'm off to check out that shop thanks to you :)

Country Dreaming said...

Fun stuff. Time with family and friends IS the best. But I got some games that I'm looking forward to playing.

Happy New Year.

Baloney said...

I love that pie plate! I've been thinking about buying one myself.

@nnie said...

You have such great taste Valerie. I could never do such a classy post, because I don't have such classy taste. Most of my purchases are from Target and though I do love me some Target, it's not quite the same as Etsy. Congrats on some great gifts and superb finds.

Farmgirl Paints said...

My husband bought me a little notepad and pen that says "Keep calm and carry on". I never knew the story behind! Loved that necklace. Sounds like you had a great Christmas. We did too:)

Anonymous said...

I think you scored big time this Christmas! I am waiting to load pictures to my new digital frame that my husband gave to me...a large one for home and little one that I can take with me to show off all my grandkids! Happy New Year!

Mrs. Meryhew said...

I LOVE the I Spy bags. What a great idea!