Enchantingly Emily has MOVED!

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That’s right – this blog has moved! I’m hoping to bring even greater things to you in the future, so that meant moving to my own hosting, and learning A LOT about what that entails 😉 If you are an email subscriber, please go to enchantinglyemily.com in your browser now to find my new homepage and re-subscribe. You will then receive emails every time a post is added to the new website. If you subscribe to my blog in an RSS (like wordpress.com or feedly), please re-add my site to your reader at enchantinglyemily.com.

Thank you all for following me this far, and I hope you’ll take the moment to pop over to my new site to keep up to date with me. I appreciate you all more than you can imagine!

Enchantingly,

Emily

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Stuff those Stockings!

pexels-photo-186613Second to the Christmas tree, stockings are one of the common images of the season that transcend borders & styles.

As a kid, I could always depend on an apple and an orange being in the bottom of my stocking. I had attributed their appearance to being a cheap & reasonable way to fill a good portion of a stocking. It was fascinating to learn later that this had less to do with the burden of filling stockings after buying all of those gifts, but actually traced back to tradition. Which specific tradition, however, is a matter of contention among “experts.”

One item of folklore about St. Nick is that he had given a gift of a dowry to the daughters of a poor farmer, who could not afford to marry them off otherwise. The sacks of gold in the toes of the stockings had the look of oranges to them.

Other traditionalists claim that oranges – and soon after apples – started appearing in the stockings of the Great Depression, as at the time, fresh fruits were hard to come by and were considered a luxury. This doesn’t really explain why people from other countries could count on getting an orange in their stockings, however.

So after the oranges and apples have been placed softly into the toe of your socks, what next? You never realize how much a sock can hold until it’s stocking stuffing time. Filling stockings can add up to be an expensive endeavor, as well as one full of unnecessary, impractical clutter-makers. I’ve compiled a list of stocking stuffers for all ages to help make filling them easier for you.

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Age: 0 – 6 months

At this age, you could get away with just handing the child the stocking (if they are closer to 6 months), or filling it with crumpled up wrapping paper. But, for those that insist on the joy of filling a stocking for the littlest of ones, here are some suggestions:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Formula
  • Bottles
  • Rattles
  • Socks/hats/mittens

Age 6 months – 2 years

This is also an easy age. Practicality is the key!

  • Socks/hats/mittens
  • Christmas Plushies
  • Fisher Price Little People toys
  • Baby food/applesauce pouches
  • Fruit snacks
  • Tiny board books

Age 3 – 4 years

  • Toothbrush & toothpaste (I’m a fun mom)
  • Socks/hats/mittens (there’s a theme going on here)
  • Bath toys
  • Bathing products – soap, shampoo, bubbles
  • Stickers
  • Play Doh
  • Crayons
  • Christmas trinkets from $1 store/$1 aisle

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Age 5 – 7 years

  • Hotwheels
  • Blindbag toys (shopkins, littlest pet shop… those $4 that are sealed so you don’t know what you’re getting and you keep trying for those darn Super Rares)
  • Lip Smackers
  • More bathroom products
  • Socks/hats/mittens
  • Play jewelry
  • Legos

Age 8 – 12 years

It starts getting trickier to be cheap the older they get. Fortunately, at this age they likely have favorite things that hopefully need little accessories.

  • Trading cards
  • Action figures
  • Batteries
  • Socks/hats/mittens
  • Hobby related items (paints & brushes for artists, legos for builders, comic books for comic book kids)

Age 13 – 15 years

I’m light years from dealing with this age as a parent, but this is what I would think would be appropriate.

  • Makeup
  • Fancy lip gloss (EOS or other brands that seem grown-up (although I still love me a good Lip Smackers))
  • Gift Cards
  • Bathroom products (at this age, you may be delving into the age of razor blade cartridges, which are not cheap and do count as good gifts because of that)
  • Nail Polish
  • Socks/hats/mittens
  • Earbuds/charge cords
  • Batteries

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Age 16 – 18 years

Can parents do anything right at this age?

  • Gift Cards
  • Bathroom Products (again) (but parents, let’s all agree that getting pads/tampons in a stocking is NOT cool)
  • Fashion accessories
  • Earbuds/charge cords
  • Phone accessories
  • Gas cards
  • Keychains
  • Movie tickets

Females over 18 years

Yes, I would still do a stocking for adult kids. Assuming my kid isn’t a butt head adult. #goals. But really – if you’re way into stockings and giving like I am, there’s no rule against doing stockings for adults. Here are some ideas that will vary in usage depending on your relationship with the adult.

  • “Expensive” chocolate – Lindt, Ferrero Rocher, Godiva… Nothing against Hershey’s, but I grew past that being acceptable gifting chocolate years ago.
  • Perfume
  • Warm, fuzzy socks (getting someone pratical socks would be weird at this point. But those fuzzy ones for the winter – awesome giftage)
  • Hats/mittens
  • Lotion
  • Candles
  • Planned out date night plans
  • Lotto Ticket scratchers
  • Tiny liquor bottles
  • Pens/stationery/washi tape if they’re into that.

Males over 18 years

This will again differ based on your relationship with the male. But in my research, I still believe that the key to men’s hearts is truly the stomach.

  • Beef Jerky
  • Tiny liquor bottles
  • Needed/wanted/nicer tools (do not be that person that gets a screw driver every year and winds up years later with a drawer full of nothing but screwdrivers) (although having one in each room of the house is sometimes more handy than you’d think)
  • Beard oil/grooming kit
  • Print outs of favorite pictures
  • Lotto ticket scratchers
  • Gloves/hats/mittens (switched it up on you!)

 

When all else fails, have fun with it! Gift giving shouldn’t be so serious. Sometimes the best thing to get a stodgy old adult is a good old slinky or yo yo to bring them back to their childhood for a moment. And who doesn’t enjoy a good whoopie cushion?

Enjoy those stockings!

November Finds & Faves – Shopping Local!

I was a Black Friday shopper for a few years, and I found that it absolutely was not worth the effort. You can find better deals throughout the year without the mad rush of crowds and greed, just hours after giving thanks for what you have.

As a reformed individual, I do find that I can get on board with supporting Small Business Saturday, though! By giving my money to a small business, I can see my funds going toward them keeping their livelihood, putting food on their families tables, and doing what they enjoy doing. Not that employees at Target don’t also need to be paid, but I feel less enchanted by the idea of how much the CEOs at large corporations are putting under their roofs from my hard earned dollar.

So, if you’re local to the Omaha, Nebraska area, or visit here frequently, I’d like to share with you some of the businesses & individuals I was happy to support this most recent Small Business Saturday.

To be completely transparent – these thoughts & opinions are all my own and I am receiving nothing in connection with my rants. I hope only to further local small business owners and contribute to their success, so please do stop by their pages/shops out of the kindness of your hearts. You may just find the perfect gift for someone on your list!

Wry Goods

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etsy – Wry Goods Etsy Shop

This shop has some cute, clever, and just generally warm & fuzzy print work that caught my attention right away (and not only because I’m insanely jealous of the concepts and prints she’s created when my mind goes completely blank once I get the carving tools out). My husband and I bought a “Lovecraft” print and can’t wait to find the perfect place to hang it in the house.

In addition to the items listed in her shop, you can also contact her through etsy for custom orders and for large quantity orders (think – Christmas cards). Anything you get from her shop will definitely stand out amongst the crowds of greeting/holiday cards. I’m also a sucker for a clever pun, so I am all over this shop. I need to have more greeting card occasions in life just so I can send these out. They will be a nice addition to my unique stationery collection!

If you haven’t found a gift for a hard to shop for person, this is the etsy store to check out!

Cee Whit – Baked Goods

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image used with permission from cee_whit’s instagram

Find her at pop-up shops and Instagram @ cee_whit

I like baking, therefore, I am extremely picky when it comes to eating baked goods. I expect a lot. And when it comes to macarons – I expect even more. Going to France and having Laduree macarons spoiled me rotten. So when I say that I’ve found the only macaron that I’ve had back here in the states that measures up to the Laduree macarons I remember gaining about 5 pounds from in Paris, that means something.

This woman’s macarons are devine. And her hand pies… you’ll never look at a pie that comes in a wrapper the same again. Never. I also bought a red velvet whoopie pie that made me want to bathe in it. I’ve never liked whoopie pies, but I could eat these things to my sugar fueled death.

I may not do any holiday baking this year and may just buy more of her cookies instead. And then, I may not share. We’ll see how generous I’m feeling, because seriously – these are hide them from the rest of the family and eat them hiding in the coat closet good. Seriously – head over to instagram and check her out! A plate of her cookies would be the best teacher/neighbor/favorite blogger gift ever!

Furbelow Folly Terrariums

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Find her at pop-up shops and Instagram @ furbelow_folly

Terrariums have always been neat to me, but not something I could actually see in my eclectic home, until seeing Furbelow Folly’s terrariums. They are the perfect mixture of terrarium and whimsy for my likings. A well arranged plant that I can’t kill – and it has fun characters in it? Sign me up! I’m sure it will not only help my home’s chi/feng shui/whatever, but I smile each time I see it!

The hardest decision I had to make was between a Star Wars terrarium, or the Doctor Who terrarium that had a really gorgeous pocket watch as the centerpiece.  Strangely enough I went with Doctor Who – but had the StormTrooper terrarium not already been sold, it probably would have gone home with me instead. My husband is the Doctor Who fan in the house – I lost my love for it when Rose’s story ended, though now that the insufferable bowtie doctor is done, I’m more tolerant.

Take a look at her instagram feed and watch for her to be at a pop-up show – you will not regret it!

Daisy Jones Locker

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image used with permission from daisyjoneslocker instagram

Benson Omaha NE

This adorable little boutique is my favorite source for fancy clothes anymore! I’ve never loved clothes shopping until I ran into this store. It’s full of vintage inspired pinup clothes and shoes, in addition to great accessories and art from local artists. The owner is the nicest ever, and we have an inside joke where I end up going back for belts all the time. The clothes all come in a full range of sizes, from the super small to the plus side of things. Anyone can find something in this store that will make them feel like a million bucks. If you’re a lady, stop by and fall in love. If you’re a man, stop by and get a tee-shirt or a gift for a lady in your life.

And in addition to the awesome clothes & dresses & shoes & everything else, she carries the most excellent Star Wars (and other) themed purses that I get asked about everywhere I go.

You must visit!

I hope you enjoy this list of people & places to shop that are local to my corner of the world.

 

 

Alternative Advent Calendars

With the last of the turkey made into soup using the broth I made from the turkey carcass, I can officially call Thanksgiving DONE! And now I can say…

I

LOVE

CHRISTMAS!

This is my favorite time of year, hands down. It takes everything I’ve got to put up Thanksgiving decorations after Halloween and not just go straight to Christmas. I revert back to my 6 year old self when it comes to December time, so to be able to hold it all together, I plan a bunch of fun Christmas related activities to last throughout the month.

December 1st is often kicked off with the start of an Advent calendar. Did anyone ever actually hold themselves to eating only one of those tiny little pieces of chocolate a day until Christmas? I never could as a kid, but my daughter has been pretty good at it so far. Anymore, there are a multitude of Advent calendars to choose from – you are no longer limited to that tiny square of chocolate wrenched out of it’s plastic shell. Here are some fun ideas for alternative Advent calendars, which range from cheap to pricey, and easy to involved. By creating your own calendar, or by purchasing a fun new kind of calendar, you can feel like a kid again experiencing something new each day of Christmas time!

Toy Advent Calendars

I don’t know if these are technically new, but I’ve noticed them more and more lately and actually bought one for this year. Advent calendars are available for sale by many different toy companies, like Playmobil, Lego, Disney, Fisher Price, Play Doh, and Barbie. While these are considerably more expensive than your $1 chocolate calendar, they do provide a longer lasting, tangible reward. The calendar I chose was a Playmobil Advent Calendar whose pieces add up to make a family Christmas scene. What I enjoy about that is that the pieces can become a part of our holiday decorations and come out year after year – IF my daughter doesn’t abscond them as part of her toy collection. Either way, it’s a fun way to see a scene build day after day and make the excitement last for 25 days, rather than 24 days of anticipation for 1 big day.

DIY Drink Advent Calendar

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This calendar is definitely not for kids 😉 With the help of some PVC and spray paint from a hardware store, some Advent stickers from the Target Dollar Aisle, and many, many bottles from my local grocery store (Hy-Vee has a great selection of mix & match craft beer), you can put together an advent calendar that will bring 25 nights of deliciousness.

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This calendar isn’t just limited to beer, either – mine contains craft & vintage sodas in glass bottles, as well. If you’re a fan of just one beer, you can certainly fill it with 25 of your faves.

To construct the tree, I had a 10ft section and a 2ft section of 3 inch diameter pvc cut into five inch sections. You’d think 5 inches into 10 feet would work out to not require so much extra, but when you account for the small amount removed from the cut itself, it adds up. Using PVC glue, the sections were attached together to form a Christmas tree shape, with 4 pipe sections at the base for the trunk. Spray paint added the festive colors.

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Next, I used the advent stickers to top each bottle cap and loaded the tree up!

My husband is really looking forward to picking his bottle each morning and putting it into the fridge for a cold drink in the evening. It was really fun to put together as well. I’m not a beer drinker, so if I were to make one of these for myself, I’d have to get a much bigger diameter pipe to hold the wine bottle and would likely need rehab after the holiday season! But for someone that drinks an occasional beer here and there and likes to sample many different kinds, this is a fun gift to put together. I’ve paired with it a taste tracker so that he can remember which of the drinks he liked, and which weren’t as great.

Santa Beard Calendar

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Who else remembers the advent calendars that soda companies gave out for free where you glued a cotton ball a day to Santa’s beard? I know they are truly a thing and not just my imagination, because I’ve met one other person who remembers this, and surely two people can’t be wrong!

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I wanted to recreate that memory of my childhood, but also wanted it to be more permanent than a sheet of paper & cotton balls. With the help of a friend, I had a Santa head cut out of pine. Using Rustoleum Magnetic primer, I painted the bottom half of the santa head with two coats of the special paint. This paint is loaded with iron filings that make it magnetic upon drying. One drawback to this is that it is super expensive – so find a few friends that want to do this project along with you and split the cost.

After applying & drying the magnetic paint, I painted on a Santa face. You do not have to be an artist to do this if you have carbon paper – this was not free handed! Do not let this intimidate you. If you have a santa pic that you love, just use the carbon paper between your wood & print out to put the lines onto the santa to guide your painting. Instant artiste.

Finally, using some white pompoms scored from the quite successful Target Dollar Aisle and some glue & magnets, I made 25 beard balls (need a better name) that stick to the beard, despite my fears. Success! Instant Santa Beard Advent Calendar.

There was so much excitement that she couldn’t hold still for a second picture…

DIY Jar Advent Calendar

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A pretty jar, some scraps of paper, and a pen make a really simple & quick advent calendar. Cut out 25 strips of paper and determine what you’d like to add to them each day. You can either start with 25 pre-filled items and pull one each day, or fill them out as you go and end up with 25 filled tags at the end of the day. Here are some ideas of what to write:

  • 25 favorite Christmas memories
  • 25 acts of kindness to perform during the holiday season
  • 25 types of baked goodies to make (if you have all the time in the world to bake daily)
  • 25 Christmas movies to watch
  • 25 Christmas stories to read
  • 25 Christmas songs to listen to
  • 25 bible verses to read
  • 25 Christmas themed activities to kill the time while you wait for the big man in the red hat
  • Have children write nice things about their siblings and read them each day until Christmas (you may want to pre-read these and remove the element of surprise)
  • Any combination of the above

Alternatively, you could use this as a perpetual advent calendar by reusing the same scraps over and over again. On each scrap, leave a lot of room for writing. When you draw a scrap for the day, write your best memory of that day. The next year, you start over with new memories being written right below the previous year’s memories. It’s a great way to keep a Christmas journal that you revisit year after year.

Envelope Advent Calendar

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Similar to the jar calendar above, you can use an envelope to hold a daily treasure for the days leading up to Christmas. Fix your envelope to a cute bunting using some safety pins, or just tape them strategically around your home or on your fridge.

Treat Crackers

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While not diet friendly, making 25 holiday crackers with your favorite holiday treat is easy if you can save 25 toilet paper, paper towel, or wrapping paper tubes. Simply fill them with your treat of choice and wrap them in some leftover wrapping paper scraps. Then hold yourself to only opening one per day!

 

Even though we now have a variety of advent calendars around the house to keep us busy until the big day, my daughter insists that she still needs the $1.99 chocolate advent calendar or her holiday will not be complete. There’s no pleasing some people! This is one craft project where you can let your imagination go wild and turn anything into a 25 day long activity that fits your family, home, style, tastes, and effort levels. Remember – putting together a red & green paper chain still counts as crafting!