Showing posts with label shopping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shopping. Show all posts

Holiday Gift Recommendations & Where to Shop This Year


Disclosure: All of these recommendations are based on reviews I have written or will write for products that were sent to me in exchange for a review. Some links will be affiliate links where I will receive a small percentage if you purchase through them. Thank you for your support!

This year there will be shortages for gifts, especially toys. They are saying to shop early and not wait to see if things go on sale. I decided to provide my gift recommendations and my favorites of 2021 for you earlier than usual. I went through what I have shared with you and some of what I will share with you to give these recommendations. I may make additions in the future since I don't have everything I will review this year yet. I am dividing it up by ages for actual gift recommendations! Many of the recommendations are for books. If you follow the rule of four for gifting this should be helpful! I hope you find this list helpful!

Holiday Shopping Recommendations!


Have you started your holiday shopping? This year is going to be different than others and that makes it the perfect year to think about what and where you are purchasing your gifts. So many of us support the big names that make ordering easy and somewhat quick. Although there are many shipping delays since so many of the products come from overseas. This pandemic has really affected everything. I wanted to gather a list of products and stores to shop that will appreciate the business and will put smiles on all the gift receivers! Also please remember many people out of work from their full time jobs so they are depending on their side gigs, so please consider ordering from one of the direct sales vendors you know. 

Holiday Shopping Recommendation

Disclosure: Uncommon Goods sent me some sample gifts in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Can you believe it? We have only 7 more Saturdays (weekends) until Christmas! Wow, time is flying by. Have you started your shopping yet? Do you have those people on your list where you just don't know what to buy? I think all of us do. I discovered the great place to find gifts for everyone on the list. It is Uncommon Goods. Have you heard of it?  They have an amazing Holiday Lookbook to get you ideas for anyone on your list. They have gifts for men, women, significant others, and so much more. The people I struggle most with are my husband, Steve, and my teenage nephew. They have a section for gifts for teens (over 15). I always have my nephew tell me what he likes at Uncommon Goods because I know it will be something different for him. Otherwise I'll be giving him a check. This year he wanted the Charging Cord Bracelet

Where to Shop This Holiday Season

Disclosure: Some of these links will pay me a small percentage of any purchase made when clicking them at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting Crafty Moms Share!

Can you believe it is already Black Friday? Do you know why today is called Black Friday? Traditionally this is the day stores would finally show a profit for the year or they would be in the black instead of the red (loss). Can you imaging running a store for almost the entire year in a loss? In honor of Black Friday I thought I would give you some suggestions as places to shop or at least some of our favorite places to shop. A few of these are affiliate links and will provide me with a small payment if you shop there, but most are just places I find amazing and want to let you know about them. Next week I will do a post on our favorite things from our reviews this year with gift suggestions for people of all ages!!

An Amazing Doll Shop (Dolls, Furniture, Clothes and Accessories)

Are you ever amazed by a company? I know there have been some companies that I find have horrible customer service. I tend to complain about them. Today I want to tell you about a company that has the best customer service. It is The Queen's Treasures. (Just so you know I am receiving nothing for writing this post. All opinions are completely my own.)

The Grommet -- a Place to Shop for Unique Gifts

Come See What We Found

Disclosure:  The links are affiliate links where I will receive a small percentage of any purchases made through them at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting Crafty Moms Share! I was also paid small stipend to write this post. All opinions are my own.

Do you have those people who seem to have everything and you struggle to find them a gift? You know the type. Those impossible to buy for people. They don't need anything and you have no idea what to buy for them. A place to go for something they do not have is The Grommet: Discover What's Next. It has unique things that are just hitting the market. 

Merry Monday -- Where to Shop for Educational Gifts & a Quick Craft

Disclosure: MindWare sent me these products in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Even though we had our Multicultural Monday post this morning, I wanted to be sure to share a Merry Monday post with you. Instead of books this week I thought I would share some educational gifts and where to buy them as well as a fun and easy hack on a decoration I saw at Michael's today. Now one of our favorite places to shop is Mindware. Mindware sells different brands however our favorite category is the Created by MindWare one. We chose three products this year to share with you. However I have to mention that we have gotten some amazing products from them over the years including one of our all time favorite games--DestiNation USA, which everyone we have introduced to this game loves it. 

Those Hard to Buy For People -- Holiday Preparations -- Gift Buying

Disclosure: Uncommon Goods sent me these products in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. All of the pictures are from Uncommon Goods website. 

Have you begun your holiday shopping yet? Now I know there are 68 days still before Christmas. However I for one like to have my shopping basically done by Thanksgiving. Why? I like to be able to relax and enjoy the Advent season plus I work in retail and my work schedule gets a bit crazy so I honestly don't want to shop and deal with the crowds. Plus there are so many fun things to do besides shop during that time of year. Therefore I start early. The best part of shopping early is you spread out the bills that come in from holiday shopping!

Finding coupon codes that work when shopping--my review of

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Do you shop on-line and search for the latest deals for certain sites? Then always wonder if the code is still working? Or perhaps go into the store but search for coupons first? Or maybe you are one of those people who do not want to give your email out to get the coupons. (I have a Hotmail account for businesses that I only check when I want a coupon.) However I have recently discovered
promotional codes

Holiday Gift Ideas -- Holiday Preparations

Disclosure: I was sent these products to review free of charge from Uncommon Goods. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to each item for your convenience but do not receive anything if you purchase them.

"On the first day of November my holiday preparations caused me to shop for those hard to get holiday gifts." Do you know my secret to loving the holiday season? It is having my preparations done early, and I mean really early!! (I'm actually basically down for Christmas with shopping.) Now we all have people who are hard to buy gifts for. Who are yours? Mine are Steve, my husband, and my 14-year-old nephew. My solution is Uncommon Goods. They have some amazing ideas for everyone and they are things that you cannot find everywhere.

Thirty-one Party -- Review & Party!!

Disclosure: Your purchases at the party will give me special hostess buying opportunities. 

Are you ready for summertime fun? I know I am. I'm going to share a secret with you. Are you ready? I am ready and organized for summer with my latest find--Thirty-One Bags!! Now I had bought a couple different bags a few years ago when a friend hosted a party. My favorite bag from that purchase is my Fresh Market Thermal Bag. I love using this bag at the Farmer's Market. I am able to put all of our purchases in and keep them cool. It also works well for bringing various food items to my parents (a 2 hour drive). Often I pack some of our favorites so my mother doesn't have to try to find them at her stores.

Holiday Shopping -- Products Review -- Uncommon Goods

Disclosure: I was sent these items to review free of charge from Uncommon Goods. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

Before I start this post, I will warn my family that they should not read this one until after Christmas since it contains gifts I am giving them!!

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? I try to have mine done before Thanksgiving so I can enjoy the holiday season and not have to deal with the crowds at the mall. Now I do all the Christmas shopping for our family including my own gifts. After the first few Christmases I realized I needed to because even with a list, I was not getting what I wanted. When Uncommon Goods asked if I would review some products I jumped at the chance since they offer unique and unusual gifts.  They offer handcrafted gifts and more that are in harmony with the environment and there is no harm to animals or people with their products. Not only that, they stand behind their products and there is no date that things must be returned by. Plus with every purchase they donate $1 to a non-profit of the buyer's choice (from their list of non-profits to which they donate). This is not an ordinary company.

Cheap Finds: Doll Accessories to Buy or Make

After our big adventure to the very expensive American Doll Store I wanted to find or make some of the things Hazel wants for her dolls at a better price. One of the things she really liked at the store were the doll binoculars that came with the Trail Accessories. Since she really only cared about the binoculars I could not see spending the money on the whole set. I then googled doll binoculars and discovered there really are not many out there besides American Girl ones. We decided to check Target and Michaels just in case, but no luck. Then we hit the Dollar Tree and I saw these.

We thought they would make perfect binoculars similar to the ones at the store. (I had many ideas to make them, but Hazel wanted them small like the stores.) So here is what we did. We used two matching pencil grips, the same color lacing (also bought at Dollar Tree in a package of six colors), two star shaped (but any larger bead will work) beads, two clear faceted beads that will fit in the holes of the pencil gripper and two pony beads. The tools we needed were a kitchen skewer, a large-eyed needle (the lacing needs to fit in it), and craft glue. The first step is to use the skewer to poke through both grips. Then thread the needle with the lacing and pass it through one grip, a star bead and the other grip. Pull the lacing through and give yourself a good amount so you will be able to tie it to go over the doll's head. Then I glued the bead into place. Then glue the second bead toward the other end of the grips for stability.

I put the clear beads in the end away from the strap and the pony beads in the ends where the eyes go. I found putting the grips between two heavy items help the glue set correctly. Then cut the lacing to the length you want and tie the end so it will fit on the doll. Once the glue dries your binoculars are ready to use!

Now the Trail Accessories also included a trail mix package. I have something similar to print out and make from Paper Minis. Ann Vanture of Paper Minis offers a complimentary project with each month's newsletter. She often offers them in different scales: 1/12 (dollhouse), 1/6 (Barbie doll) and 1/3 (18-inch doll size). To sign up for her newsletter and have access to all of her complimentary projects e-mail her at: . Many of the projects include packages of food, so check them out. It is free!! And she has even more amazing projects to buy at her store.

On our shopping adventure we found some great things to use with the dolls. We found the notepads pictured above at Michaels. They came in a package of 18 and were on clearance for 60% off making them around $1.20. At the Dollar Tree we found a lantern. The original one we bought had a palm leaf top which was removable, so we took it off. It is larger than the one American Girl has with the tent, but it will work.

If you put batteries in, it will really work. Next I need to make Hazel a tent for her dolls.
We also found a tea set at the Dollar Tree. Hazel loved the fact that it came with spoons for the dolls, so I spent the $1.

Then I found a package of green apples and one of red apples that were doll sized.
In this picture you can see how the sizes compare to the dolls. Aren't they perfect?

We have a few more crafts to make and will be sharing them as we make them. Stay tuned!!

For more doll ideas check out:

Birthday Party at American Girl Doll Store

So earlier this month Hazel was invited to a friend's birthday party at the American Girl Doll Store Boston. Since the store is at least half an hour away, parents went as well. The party included lunch in the Bistro and having each girl's doll's hair done at the Hair Salon. Hazel of course loved it!! We also thought Nonni (my mother-in-law) would love it, so we made plans for the three of us to go and we figured with my birthday coming up, it would be a fun birthday party. Nonni wanted to splurge for the birthday party option in the Bistro. 

Lunch at the Bistro includes your choice of a starter and the main meal as well as a beverage. The non-birthday party price is $7.50 for a child and $16.00 for an adult. The child gets to bring a doll (or two and they do not have to be American Girl brand) and they have high chairs for the dolls. If a child does not have a doll, they have some to borrow. The dolls get a mug and saucer which the girls get to bring home. For the birthday party, the birthday person gets a special crown and all the dolls get a crown. Plus they bring out a cake and sing to the birthday person. Then they serve the cake with vanilla ice cream. The birthday person gets the leftover cake.  Each child gets a goody bag which differ for different ages, but the young girls includes a celebration tee shirt for the doll, a balloon for the doll and a book and stickers, plus a doll size American Girl shopping bag. The prices for the birthday party are $30 for a child and $20 for an adult. We drove one of the other friends (it was all girls from Hazel's class plus the birthday girl's older sister). The friend we drove did not have an 18-inch doll yet, so we had her borrow one of Hazel's. She picked Mimi. Hazel brought her Hazel doll. 

Now the hair prices range from $10 to $25, but most of the styles are $20 or $25. Having seen what they did and heard advice a few of the stylists gave about the dolls hair, I decided this was something I could do on Hazel's dolls. Her oldest 18-inch doll, Barbie, had a mess of hair. I considered having the hair salon deal with it, but after seeing several posts about how to fix doll hair, I decided to give it a go. I used the tips from All Things with a Purpose: Fix American Girl Doll's Hair Without a Trip to the Doll Hospital. However we had bought the American Girl doll hair brush after the birthday party and I found it did not work well. It broke very easily. However I had a cat brush that was made with metal and love that one. The cats hated it so I don't use it on them. I found soaking the dolls hair when it is really messy and then brushing it out works. I had to resoak Barbie's a couple of times to get right, but it worked. Then I was able to copy the styles they would do to Hazel's dolls. I convinced Hazel that we did not need to spend $25 on a doll's hair and we could instead buy baby clothes to make doll clothes.
I took a selfie for the first time!
Well when you book a birthday party, they send you invitations and thank you notes for the number you say. (They ask you for the largest number of people who will be attending when you book it.) Needless to say, we did not use these. When we were seated they gave both Hazel and me a sticker saying "It's my special day!" and gave me the crown, which Hazel of course wanted to wear. The napkin rings are hair elastics with a pink bow. I put Hazel's and Nonni's on Hazel's pigtails and put my hair up since I forgot to bring an elastic for my hair. Hazel also insisted on bringing all four of her 18-inch dolls. (None of them are American Girl dolls and I have explained to her that all four together cost less than one American Girl doll, so she has decided she would rather have more dolls than a brand one.) 

Hazel brought Hazel and Barbie and she dressed Hazel in the Dolly & Me dress that matched her own. They actually were perfect because the matched the crowns as well. Nonni got to bring Emily a BFC, Ink doll and I got Mimi. Now Hazel and Mimi are Madam Alexander dolls (one from KMart and one from Kohl's post Christmas sale), and I actually like their faces better than the American Girl dolls' plus I love that their chest and shoulders are plastic and not cloth like the American Girl dolls (and Barbie). Hazel of course wanted pictures of her with each pair of dolls. She also was excited that she got four mugs and saucers for the dolls.
We had a lovely lunch. Then it was time for cake. While waiting for the cake, Nonni took our picture, and look I get to wear my crown! I should note that Nonni hates having her picture taken, so she will not be pictured in this post. She does not let me take one usually.

The waitress came with a friend and the cake and sang to me.

Hazel and I blew out the candles and took a picture of the top of the cake. The cake is two layers--one white and one chocolate. They then took the cake and brought us each a slice and a dish of ice cream. The dishes look like small flower pots and each one has a fake daisy in it as well.

I also asked them to give pieces of the cake to the mother and daughter eating next to us since they were not celebrating a birthday and the tables were really close together. We still came home with half the cake. Since it was good cake, we didn't mind and Steve was happy to help eat it. I didn't take a picture of the sliced cake, but here is the fruit kabob starter that Hazel got (and most of the girls at the friend's birthday party). The yogurt was served in the same flowerpot dish with daisy as the ice cream.

We stuck the daisy in Hazel's pigtails and my pony tail. Hazel did not get the yogurt due to her dairy intolerance and instead got an extra fruit kabob. They also gave her raspberry sorbet instead of vanilla ice cream.

After lunch we took a picture of Hazel with her Hazel doll and then she wanted one of me and Mimi. She took this one.

Then we went to show Nonni the Hair Salon and all the dolls and accessories. Nonni of course had to buy Hazel something. After the struggle of getting her to chose one or two things, Nonni saw the price of the two things and decided it would be better to buy just one of the expensive things Hazel loved. She bought her Isabelle's Studio. I explained to both of them that this would be Hazel's Christmas and birthday gifts from Nonni. Hopefully Nonni will stick with it though she never does.
Hazel is loving it and has her Hazel doll sewing all the time now. In fact her (the doll's) sleeping bag is next to the studio so she doesn't have to go far. The only thing Hazel thought it was missing was a pencil to go with the sketch book. This brings us to our craft for today. I made Hazel a doll pencil from a bamboo skewer. I painted the tip black and left some wood color and then painted above it yellow for the pencil. Then I cut it off. After the paint dried I glued on a dot of pink foam and tried to make it look somewhat like an eraser.

Hazel took it for her Hazel doll as soon as she saw it. Before we left the American Doll Store however we got some pictures of the two Hazels with Isabelle.

We had to do it with and without the crowns.

Tomorrow I will share some more doll crafts and some Dollar Tree doll finds. 

For more doll ideas check out:

Happy Family Times #15--A Trip to the Mall

Have you done something fun with your family this week? Kelly over at Happy Whimsical Hearts and I love to hear about them. Come share it below and read what we have done as well as get inspired by all the other ideas shared.
Hazel's new shoes

Well on Thursday, Hazel had a now unheard of three hour nap. Needless to say we knew she would not be going to bed on time. We thought it was the perfect time to head to the mall and get her feet measured at Stride Rite, have her pick out a set of Legos at the Lego Store (I tried to tell Steve to pick one out as well, but he showed control) and then we went to P.F. Chang's for dinner. Hazel was so excited that they had chopsticks with their place settings there. And of course she had to eat her entire meal with them. She loved it there. I of course did not bring my camera. I don't know what I was thinking. 

However I can share a few pictures of what we bought. Hazel picked out a new pair of shoes. They were on sale so they did not have all the sizes. She wanted the purple ones, but had to get the pink ones. The pink ones will match more of her clothes.

We also had let her pick out a set of Legos. Steve and I had visited the Lego Store awhile ago and had decided it was time to get her a regular set instead of the Duplo since she has mastered them and gotten bored. We let her pick out the set. I did influence her a bit and got her to get the starter kit that wasn't to build a themed thing. Needless to say the Legos have definitely given us more family time. She hasn't completely mastered some of the finer details with them and wants help.
Steve and I grew up loving Legos. In fact Steve still has his Lego castle from when he was young. We want to buy ones that will let her create whatever she wants like we had when we were young. Her kit did not have enough roof pieces and she could use more than one person as well. We will have to go back and supplement, and Steve is talking about picking out something for himself. 
Hazel loves the horse and the cart attachment. She however thinks the cart needs the windshield and steering wheel. Oh, well. She likes it. After playing with her Legos this weekend, we took a family nap. At one point all five of us (Steve, Hazel, me and the two cats) were laying on the couch. I did get a picture of Hazel with Fluffy. Hazel did get up and go get all the dolls and stuffed animals she could to join us as well. Steve moved to our bed first since he did not have much room. I moved Hazel to hers and went to Joann's to hit their One Day Sunday Sale and Fourth of July Sale. More to come on that another time.

Now it is your turn to share how your family has spent some quality time lately.

~ please link up (family time oriented giveaways are ok, but please no Etsy shops)
~just crafts will be deleted since this is to share family times ~ use our button so others can join the fun


Button Code:

~ we'd love for you to follow us Crafty Moms Share and Happy Whimsical Hearts
~ check out our Happy Family Times Pinterest board where we will be pinning some of our favorite ideas

Ok, now for our PARTY!! Please share your FUN Family Times!!

Happy Family Times # -A Visit to Gloucester

Have you done something fun with your family this week? Come share it with us! Kelly from Happy Whimsical Hearts and I are collecting ideas to inspire us all to have more fun times with our families. Here is something we did this week and you can share below!

This week Steve had a day off and we headed to Gloucester, Massachusetts. I had been told about a wonderful health food store, The Common Crow, in Gloucester by the parent/child teacher at Hazel's school. I have been wanting to check it out for awhile, but haven't had the time or energy to find it. Since Gloucester is in the area that Steve is  in charge of for his company he knows it better than I do. We finally found a time to go before the summer season truly hit and made traveling hard to get to Cape Ann.
Source: Wikipedia
In my rush to get out the door since I needed to be home to go tutoring in the afternoon, I forgot my camera. However, this picture is one of the things that says Gloucester to anyone around here. We stopped at this statue as we drove by the water. This statue is surrounded by plaques with names of all the fishermen from Gloucester lost at sea. (Some of you may remember hearing about Gloucester, MA in the book/movie The Perfect Storm. Book written by Sebastian Junger.) A nice family told us about a playground by the beach, but we did not make it there this time.  We did manage to find a post card of the light house that we had bought awhile ago locally and found this nice photo card of the harbor.

After visiting the Man at the Wheel statue, we went to find the Common Crow. While dealing with one way streets, we discovered that one way Main Street was definitely a street we wanted to walk down and do a bit of shopping or checking out. So we parked near The Common Crow and checked it out. Then we were hungry for lunch, so we went looking for a good place. We found Sugar Magnolia's which was wonderful. Then we stopped in a few stores--the toy store, the children's clothing store and then headed for some coffee and tea. We stopped in the Pleasant Street Tea Co. where I got the best chai latte ever!!
Then we headed home. However some things about Gloucester and Cape Ann. Gloucester is the oldest seaport in America. It went through several different names, but Captain John Smith presented a map of the eastern coast to Prince Charles who named the land Cape Anne, after his mother, in 1614. The name has been shortened to Cape Ann, but still remains. (Source: Discover Gloucester) I definitely want to go back and explore Gloucester some more when I have more time.

To share a picture of our family I will show you a few from our family walk this weekend.

Now it is your turn to share how your family has spent some quality time lately.

~ please link up (family time oriented giveaways are ok, but please no Etsy shops)
~just crafts will be deleted since this is to share family times ~ use our button so others can join the fun


Button Code:

~ we'd love for you to follow us Crafty Moms Share and Happy Whimsical Hearts
~ check out our Happy Family Times Pinterest board where we will be pinning some of our favorite ideas

Ok, now for our PARTY!! Please share your FUN Family Times!!