Find the Perfect Graduation Gift For Your #GreatestGrad at Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

graduation gift

Graduation from high school or college is a big deal and it's important that friends and family celebrate with the graduate and support them as they begin this new phase of their life. Since the hubby has been a youth minister for about eight years now, all of his youth group kids are growing up and graduating.  We had quite a few gifts to buy this year, so that meant we couldn't spend a lot on each gift, as much as we really would have liked to.  We were reminiscing about how gifts for our graduation were always towels or picture frames…which were needed, of course, but it's always nice to get something really cool that will also be useful for college or starting a new job.  Did you know that Best Buy has a great selection of gifts for grads under $50?  My favorite would have been the Oster Blender.  I would have loved being able to whip up a smoothie in my dorm room freshman year!  (Seriously…I thought I was cool for having a toaster oven and a fridge!)  

 

Top Gifts Under $50:

  • Roku Streaming HDMI Stick
  • Nose & Ear Trimmer
  • Oster Blender
  • Mr. Cofee 12-Cup Coffeemaker
  • My Blend Blender
  • Shark Lightweight Iron
  • BISSELL Cordless 2-in-1 Handheld/Stick Vacuum
  • SOL REPUBLIC JAX Earbud Headphones
  • Case-Mate Glam Case for iPhone
  • Insignia Case for Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Otterbox Symmetry Case for iPhone 5/5s & Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Samsung S-View Flip Cover for Galaxy S5
  • Speck Case for HTC One (M8)
  • Modal case for iPhone 5/5s
  • Modal Bluetooth Speaker
  • Thule Gauntlet Laptop Sleeve
  • Incase City Laptop Sleeve
  • Incase Neoprene Laptop Sleeve
  • Incase City Laptop Sleeve
  • Incase Neoprene Laptop Sleeve

​Get a FREE case with the *online only* purchase of Sony QX10 attachable lens style camera.  (click for coupon)

Visit the Best Buy Gift Center and find lots of great gifts for the graduate who is moving out to get them all set up, the networker who uses technology to stay connected, or even the fitness fanatic.  Find the perfect gift for your greatest grad at Best Buy!Best Buy

Gifts for Teachers: What Teachers Want (and What They Can Do Without)

Gifts for Teachers

I always struggle with what to buy my sons' teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week, Christmas, and the end of school.  When I was teaching, I appreciated everything and was always surprised when I would get a few gifts, even for Valentine's Day or Easter.  Parents are so sweet to think of their child's teachers any time of the year.  Teachers work hard and deserve to be spoiled a little bit from time to time. 

I asked a few of my teacher friends what they always love getting from students.  I thought this could help parents like me who really don't have a clue about gifts for teachers!  Of course, every teacher is different, but here are just a few ideas of what was suggested:

  • Supplies for the classroom.  Teachers spend a lot on classroom supplies, so giving a few things to help out would likely always be appreciated.  Or ask the teacher if he/she has a wish list!  (I always loved getting sanitizer…ha!)
  • Personalized gifts – anything personalized to the teacher, or even monogrammed is great.  One teacher said she loves her monogrammed notepad she was given.  If you are close with the teacher or know a little about her life, personalized things like Origami Owl would be great.
  • Drinks - I heard this from most of my teacher friends.  A case of their favorite soda, a bottle of cold water, coffee, or a fountain drink from Sonic is greatly appreciated!  (You might ask them nonchalantly what their favorite beverage is or get your child to ask so you know what they like!)  Drinks are a nice surprise and pick me up, I know!
  • Snacks – Same as drinks, but this gets a bit trickier because of diets and food restrictions.  For instance, one teacher I asked said she does NOT like to get chocolate, while one said chocolate is always welcome!  So do your research if you're going to give food.
  • College or Professional Sports Gear – Most teachers love "stuff" from their Alma Mater, and a lot of teachers I know have at least one favorite sports team, especially male teachers.  This opens up many choices, because you can find anything and everything with college or sports teams' names on them.
  • Gift Cards – You can't go wrong with a gift card, that's my motto at least.  Craft stores, book stores, or restaurants are good.  See if your child can give you some clues as to what they like…if the teacher sips coffee in the morning, chances are he or she will like a Starbucks card.  If all else fails, pick up a gift card to a teacher supply store or you know…Target.  :)  And they don't have to be worth lots of money, either.  Teachers can make $5 gift cards go a long way, I promise!
  • Hand written cards – You wouldn't believe how touching and meaningful a handwritten note is, whether it be from the student or parent.  A note about a specific incident or how the teacher helped your child is a wonderful way to show your child's teacher how much you appreciate them.  It's the cheapest, but probably best gift ever!  Add in a handmade picture or photo of your child to make it even better.

Now, I asked teachers what they prefer not to get.  This doesn't mean that they don't love and appreciate every single gift given to them, because they really, really do!  But these gifts are given a lot and if a teacher has taught for years and years, this stuff really piles up.  And most teachers I know love to be organized and also have a hard time parting with things their students have given them.  So, after ten years, they're left with "what do I do with all of this?"  So, unless you know that your child's teacher collects one of the things below, get something else or save your money and write a sweet card.

  • Teacher-y or Apple Themed stuff 
  • Stuffed Animals
  • Ornaments
  • Coffee Mugs

​What is an awesome teacher gift that you've either given or received?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Give A Gift Throughout the Year with Citrus Lane

This post is brought to you by Citrus Lane.  All thoughts and opinions are 100% mine.

 

citrus lane

The Captain and D both have birthdays close to Christmas, and the new Baby will, as well.  I sometimes have a little guilt over the fact that they can only celebrate with gifts one or two months out of the year.  We don't let that stop us from buying them things they need or little things they might want throughout the year, but as far as the surprise factor and quality items….that's only reserved for birthdays and Christmas.  Citrus Lane monthly subscription boxes are a fabulous remedy to this problem.

Each month, Citrus Lane compiles boxes full of 4-5 quality toys, books, snacks, household and body care items, as well as the occasional treat for parents.  There is a box each month for kids ages newborn through five years old.  Each box is worth at least $25 in retail value, and shipping is always free.  

 

august box

 

We received a Citrus Lane box to review for D because his birthday is a week from Christmas, and I felt he needed a little surprise in November, after the Captain's birthday.  He was SO excited to receive his very own package in the mail and loved opening it up!  The Captain was excited, too, of course!  The surprises were wrapped in yellow tissue paper and was fun to just tear into.

 

citrus lane

D's box was jam packed with goodies!  It contained:  a Dreamz & Twinkles To Go from Cloud B, rhythm sticks from Hohner Kids, BOPS baked organic potato snacks from Good Boy Organics, and a Ladybug Magazine from Cricket Magazine Group.  Also included was a 3 month digital subscription to Ladybug Magazine!

 

citrus lane

I was most excited about the adorable Dreamz & Twinkles To Go.  It is a compact nightlight that can easily be packed in a suitcase for travel, used in the car on a dark night, or just for use at home, like D is doing at this very moment in his crib!

 

toy

Although D loved each item in the Citrus Lane box, his and the Captain's favorite item was definitely the rhythm sticks.  They both love music and banging things together, so of course they loved these sticks!  D likes to take them in the car or play with them at home.  They're high quality and fun!

 

citrus lane

 

I think a monthly subscription to Citrus Lane would make a great, different Christmas gift – one that gives throughout the year.  You can discover new products, get great new toys and items, and receive a great surprise in your mailbox every month.  Citrus Lane boxes are perfect for rainy days, rewards, trips, or "just because." 

Subscriptions are available in one, two, three, six, or twelve month increments and start at $25.  Right now, you can save $10 off any subscription.  Just visit the Citrus Lane website.  **Offer Terms: can only be applied to subscription purchases by new Citrus Lane customers. It cannot be applied to gift subscriptions. Subscriptions automatically renew to full retail price. You may cancel anytime.**

Stay up to date on info and deals by following Citrus Lane on Twitter and Facebook.

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Gandhara Designs Fair Trade Necklace {Giveaway Closed}

This fair trade necklace giveaway was brought to you by Gandhara Designs.  All opinions are mine.

Beautiful jewelry that is fair trade and high quality is hard to come by.  It is very hard to tell if something has been created by workers who are treated ethically and fairly.  Gandhara Designs is a Canadian boutique that specializes in one-of-a-kind, heirloom quality artisinal jewelry hand-crafted from artisans all over the world.  These pieces are unique and can be passed on throughout the generations.

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Mother’s Day Gifts For The Mom Who Has Everything

This Mother's Day gift post was written by me on behalf of Novica.  All opinions are mine.

Mother's Day is May 12th this year, which doesn't leave too much time to get Mom the perfect Mother's Day gift.  You could spend hours at the mall looking for the perfect gift, or you could shop for a unique gift Mom is sure to love from the comfort of your own home!  Novica is the place for handmade gifts that give back and support talented artisans around the world, many of them mothers themselves who are trying to support their families.

Novica breaks it all down for you to make shopping easy.  You can shop by price, category, or region.  Here are a few beautiful handmade items that I found by doing a quick search. 

This beautiful pair of handcrafted sterling silver earrings, made by Wayan Asmana from Bali & Java, is under $25:

Mother's Day

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Give Chocolates that are GOOD for your Valentine!

omega 7

Chocolates are a huge seller on Valentine's Day.  I'm sure women around the country willbe getting a box of chocolates, filled with delicious, yet unhealthy treats.  I don't think anyone can change the chocolates for Valentine's Day tradition, but you can buy your Valentine a healthier chocolate…one that is actually good for them.

Sibu Beauty makes premium skin care products made from the Himalayan sea buckthorn berry.  This berry contains over 190 compounds that restore, revitalize, and protect youthful beauty on the inside and out.  They contain fatty acids like Omega 7 that has so many benefits like aiding in digestion, helping you maintain a healthy weight, as well as building healthy skin, hair, and nails.

Sibu has taken the oil from the sea buckthorn berry and brilliantly made these delectable Sibu Seven chocolates.  Each box contains sixteen individually wrapped chocolate truffles in two flavors:  Orange Milk and Dark Mint.  Here is the nutritional information and ingredients:

truffles

These truffles provide nutritional support for skin and mucous membranes, powerful free-radical scavenger, increases vitality, and may help prevent weight gain (you can't say that about other chocolates!)  They are also certified Kosher.

If you are wondering if these truffles are good, our whole family gives Sibu Seven chocolates a stamp of approval!  All of us, even the boys, really loved them.  They are decadent and creamy, plus it's nice to know that they are actually healthy, as well!

Purchase your Valentine a box of Sibu Seven chocolates for $17.95 on the Sibu website.  Connect with Sibu on Twitter and Facebook, too.

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Buy Fair Trade – 50% off Non-Consumables at TradeAsOne.com

I just read on TradeAsOne.com's Facebook page that they are offering 50% off of non consumables through Sunday.  You don't need a coupon, just go to TradeAsOne.com to get in on this great deal and support fair trade!  They have great jewelry, toys, placemats, keychains, and more.  I believe buying from great companies who support fair trade is a great idea to help out where we can.  Read the mission of Trade As One:

"Our mission is to use fair trade to promote sustainable business and break cycles of poverty

and dependency in the developing world. We all have a conscience. We want to make sure people get

the chance to use it when they shop."

Trade As One has beautiful items such as this Recycled Magazine Bowl from Mai Vietnamese Handicrafts:

fair trade

Visit Trade As One and while you're there, check out their fair trade chocolate and coffee, too!

 

Introducing….Humerus The Funny Bone!

Giant Microbes are always funny, cute, and maybe even a bit weird but you’ve gotta admit that they make you think!  Humerus the Funny Bone is the newest creation from The Drew Oliver Company, makers of Giant Microbes.  He’s “The Funniest Guy in the Joint” and is pretty cute, too!

giant microbes

To get Humerus to tell a joke, all you have to do is give a clap.  Humerus tells joke after joke like “How did the funny bone get broken?  His jokes cracked him up!”

We all enjoyed playing with Humerus the Funny Bone, even the boys who didn’t really get the jokes but still laughed!  Humerus comes in his own “stage” box and keeps telling jokes as long as you clap for him!

If you know someone who loves bone or human body humor, then Humerus would make a great gift!  You can buy him for $29.95 at the Humerus & Ulnar website!  Follow on Twitter and Facebook, too.

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Lucky ’13 New Years Giveaway Hop featuring Nielsen-Massey

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 2013 is on it’s way and in order to kickoff the year with a BANG, the LUCKY ’13 New Years Giveaway Hop hosted by BloggerPR is here! Each of our participating bloggers is giving away a prize valued at $20 or more.  This event will run from December 29th until January 12th, which gives you plenty of time to hop down the linky list below. Good Luck & Happy New Year!

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I love to cook and with the holiday season coming to an end, I’ve done a LOT of baking.  I’ve really enjoyed having these delicious, high quality Nielsen-Massey extracts on hand for my holiday baking!  I have used the almond extract for icing and the vanilla extract for pecan pie.

extracts

Nielsen-Massey has been around since 1907, crafting the world’s finest vanillas and flavors.  Their experience has produced quality products and awesome customer service.  They’ve also perfected some amazing recipes, all available on their website.  How about some yummy chocolate chip cookies?

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 1 1/2 c. butter, softened

1 1/4 c. white sugar

1 1/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
2 eggs
4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1-12 oz. pkg. semisweet chocolate chips. (2 c.)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, soda, salt, baking powder and cream of tartar. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop with a #40 scoop (looks like a metal mini ice cream scoop) or a rounded measuring tablespoonful about 2 inches apart onto an ungreased insulated baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light brown. Cool slightly: remove from baking sheet. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen crackly, chewy-crispy bakery-style cookies.

nielsen massey

Or if you’re a brownie fan, here’s a yummy recipe from Nielsen Massey:

Not So Blonde Brownies

1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract
2 tablespoons Kahlúa
1 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate
3/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts of choice (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.

Cream the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the chocolate extract and Kahlúa. Add the sifted dry ingredients in two additions, beating well after each addition. Fold in the white chocolate chunks and nuts.

Spray a 9 x13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the batter over the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Serves 15

nielsen massey

Check out the Nielsen-Massey website for more recipes, information, and to find a retailer near you.  Amazon sells Nielsen-Massey products if you’re looking to purchase them online, as well as other online retailers.

Now you have a chance to win a set of Nielsen-Massey extracts for your own baking!  Just enter to win in the Rafflecopter form below.  Good luck!
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Stuff the Stockings with YumEarth Organics Gummy Bears

Let’s face it, the Captain is looking forward to getting some candy in his stocking tomorrow.  As much as I want to be able to give the boys a treat, I don’t like giving them candy containing food dyes and other junk.  That’s why this year, they’ll be getting organic gummy bears from YumEarth Organics!

gummy bears

This bag of gummy bears contains 10 snack packs – perfect for portion control!gummy bears

I had to sample what I’m giving my kids, and YumEarth Organics gummy bears pass the test.  They’re not you’re ordinary gummy bear, but they’re delicious and honestly, my kids don’t care how they look, as long as it tastes good.  And the taste combined with the fact that my kids are getting gourmet candy made with organic ingredients like fruit juice makes me feel better about them eating candy.

organic

Yum Earth Organics Gummy Bears are made with organic brown rice syrup, organic cane sugar, natural flavors, organic fruit juice, citric acid, ascorbic acid, organic sunflower oil, and organic carnauba wax.  YumEarth promises to never use artificial dyes, tree nuts, gluten, high fructose corn syrup, peanuts, soy, dairy, or MSG and these gummy bears are certified organic and fat free, too!

You can purchase a bag of YumEarth Organics gummy bears for $7.99 on the YumEarth website or at other retailers like Amazon and Target stores.

Enter to win a bag of YumEarth Organics gummy bears in the Rafflecopter form below!  Giveaway ends at 11 PM, central time on December 31, 2012!  GOOD LUCK!

Giveaway is over and Vera G. is the lucky winner!

This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media.

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