Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Throwback Gift Guides

I've started working on a few gift guides for the year, but as I iron out the details on those I thought it would be worth re-sharing a few of the previous guides I've done as the items are still some of my kids FAVORITES.  Have you started shopping yet?  Finished??? Let me know in the comments!

Griffin's Wishlist from Last Year (4 years old)

1 - Griffin LOVES baby dolls and LOVES animals - so when I saw  these Cabbage Patch babies I knew she'd love them.  I ordered her a pair of them and I'm crossing my fingers that they smell just like my Cabbage Patch dolls did when I was a kid :) (Griffin has a high chair,  cradle and stroller for her babies as well - she's played with them for several years and are pieces we'll probably keep after she's done with them).

2 - I adore  this little play castle set because we are on the go A LOT and I love the idea of her having a whole set of toys to play with at football practice, during a basketball game, etc.  It doesn't hurt that she's currently into all things princess.

3 - Griffin loves to paint and watercolor is my preferred medium for her (because EASY!) and I think she'll love the expanded palette that  this set offers.  She's gotten much better about rinsing her brushes in between color changes and I foresee several hours of creativity with this under the tree.

4 - We've been looking at  headphones for the kids for use with the iPad and Griffin would flip over the unicorns on these :)

5 - It's no secret that Griffin likes to perform and  this microphone set is high up on my list for her because it streams music and has lights ;)  I mean - I may even have to take it for a spin!

6 -  Hi Ho Cherry-O is one of our favorites because it's fun and age-appropriate and I love that we get to practice our math skills while we play.

7 & 8 - Both the boys have 2-wheel Razor scooters and Griffin wants nothing more than to get out there and scooter with them . We have a Cars scooter that was Luke's when he was little but I have a feeling that when Santa delivers  this pink number(and  matching helmet!) we won't be able to keep her inside :)

9 - I always say "no more stuffed animals" and then somehow we end up with another  Jellycat ;)  I fell in love with the brand when I used to work on the square and they are hands-down the softest, most durable and cutest stuffed animals around.  They're my go-to for baby shower gifts, birthday presents and everything in between. 

10 - My kids got a  set of these last year for Christmas and Griffin plays with them more than anyone else.  They stay together really well and are easy to build with.  The minimal frustration and bright colors are ideal.

11 - We love a tea set and  this one is on her list because of how durable and functional it is.  I think it would go from the bath tub, to the playroom to the pool easily and Green Toys are one of our favorite brands.

12 - Griffin got  this horse stable set for her birthday last year and despite playing with it all the time we STILL have all the horses.  It's well made and is great for traveling.

13 - I brag on  this flower set all the time but y'all - it's under $20 and has been a favorite toy for YEARS!  Kids can stack, sort and design and my boys have played with this just as much as Griffin.

14 -  This faux makeup set is on my radar for Griffin because she LOVES watching me get ready in the morning and always wants to play in my makeup.  It has great reviews and I think she'd play with it a lot.

Mason's Wishlist from Last Year (6 years old)

1 - I do not understand the appeal of remote control cars AT ALL but Mason is crazy about them and so  this is the one we have our eye on for him.  I'm hoping it can go "off-road" as well so the boys can take it out at the lake house as well.

2 - I've talked about ZOOB a few times and if you have a little builder on your hand you MUST check them out.  This 500-piece starter set is wonderful (we have it!) because there are SO MANY cool things you can build (I also love that it comes in the plastic bin).  Zoob is perfect for Mason because it's easy to build with and super sturdy once it's put together.

3 -  Sorry is at the top of Mason's favorite game list right now.  Nothing makes him happier than pulling that SORRY card and sending one of us back to our home :)  All three of our kids "get" the game and can play with each other!

4 - Mason still loves him some  Beanie Boos.  He makes them homes, carries a couple to school in his backpack every day.  I kind of love his beanie boo obsession because it reminds me of my elementary school love of beanie babies :) 

5 - We have a couple different GEARS sets and they are one of the coolest toys we have.  They promote abstract and logical reasoning, critical thinking, and problem solving and when he puts something together and sees it all move as one unit it's the coolest thing.  This set is motorized and I think he'll get a big kick out of the chomping teeth :)  (we also have  this basic set and Griffin has  this set which she loves)

6 - Mason loves imaginative play and anytime we get a large box he's immediately turning it into a rocket or space ship.  I love that  this little dress-up set is well made and detailed without being overwhelming. 

7 - Rummikub is another of Mason's current favorites and is one of Dave and my favorites as well.  You use your tiles to make sets and runs and throughout the game it reinforces patterns, counting, addition, etc.  It says it's for ages 8 and up, but I think if you're playing with your child 6-year olds could definitely handle it.

8 - Mason got  this widescreen light designer last year and has played with it often all year long.  The whole board lights up and illuminates his drawings and the screen is large enough for him to draw pretty detailed pictures.   Also, Dave and I got Mason  this light board for his birthday this year as well and he LOVES it!  He uses it to trace and practice drawing - if you have a little artist on your hand I highly recommend it!

9 - I mentioned the OSMO Geunis Kit in Luke's list, but Mason is getting the  creative set for Christmas and I am SO EXCITED to give it to him!  We've been using paper and pencil and kind of making the app work, but he's going to flip out when he has the actual kit to use!  Their pictures actually come to life and it's incredible!

10 - If you remember back a few months ago, Mason asked if he could PLEASE have slippers to be next to his bed like a "real person" and when he picked some our OF COURSE they had to be  dinosaur feet :)  These are plush and warm and so much fun and if you have a dinosaur-lover (or someone who wants to be a "real person") ;) I highly recommend them.

11 - Mason has been working HARD on reading and he loves Pete the Cat.   These readers would be perfect for him and give him something fun to read on his own at night when he goes to bed (just like his big brother).

12 -  This book is full of jokes and unfinished cartoon drawings and I can't wait to give this to him!  This would be perfect to keep in the car for those days where you get stuck at an appointment longer than you think and would be a great stocking stuffer as well.

13 - Mason loves to draw and he has several drawing books that he uses for techniques and ideas.  I love the style of  this book and think he'll have fun with it.

14 - Mason loves to play with "army men"  but I feel like an entire army can disappear over the course of a week.  This set of LARGE army men will be perfect because (hopefully!) they won't disappear quite so easily. 

15 - Both Mason and Luke started doing  rainbow loom at ESS after school and Mason is CRAZY about it!  I don't know a ton about rainbow loom so I can't really speak to the age-appropriateness of it but what I do know is that Mason comes home from school with bracelets that he's made on his own - win!

16 - I'm always on the hunt for good outdoor toys and this collapsible cornhole set is on my short list.  I love that it goes in the bag for easy storage and that the kids could play together.  I also love that we could play it out back by the pool or they could move it to the driveway when we're out there riding bikes and doing chalk.

Luke's Wishlist from Last Year (9 years old)

1, 2 & 8 - Luke loves to read and will pretty much read anything we put in front of him, but  Dog Man,  Captain Underpants and  Diary of a Wimpy Kid are three of his favorite series.  In fact, I credit Captain Underpants with really spurring on his love of reading.  If you want other suggestions for elementary-aged readers you can check out my post HERE.

3 - Luke got a  set of Structures Blocks last Christmas and they're one of his "simplest" toys, but honestly, one that he plays with the most.  I love how well-made they are and how he gets to explore architecture and engineering while playing.  They come with a booklet of ideas and these are always one of the first toys that gets pulled out on the weekends.

4 - I can't say enough great things about  Snap Circuits.  Luke has several sets and they are SO COOL!  If you ever watch my Instastories then you've probably seen him creating devices that light up and pulse with the beat of music or launch spinners 15 feet in the air.  If you have a little engineer on your hands I HIGHLY recommend checking out Snap Circuits.  Also - let's talk about how Luke lost a piece and when we went to the Elenco site to purchase a replacement piece we found out that they mail them out for FREE!  I mean - how amazing is that for customer service?!?!  I was so impressed!!!

5 - We have drawers full of "random" Lego pieces from sets that have been played with, rebuilt and taken apart and I love how  this book will give him tons of directions and creative ideas for using pieces he already has.  This is in my cart for him and I also have  this one in there for Mason.  I'm hopeful that these books will inspire a lot of Lego play over Christmas break!

6 - K'Nex sets are another favorite at our house.  We love that they all work together and how they foster a curiosity for geometry and structural engineering.   This set is on my list for Luke this year because it's STEM-based and comes with experiments and directions and has a battery pack and somehow motorizing his little creations makes everything that much more fun.

7 - I bought the boys an  OSMO Genius Kit back on Amazon Prime Day in the summer and it is sooooo impressive!!!  It's a device that works with your iPad (ps - we have the new iPad Air and it works just fine even though OSMO doesn't officially say it works with the newest model) and the boys play with it ALL THE TIME.  It's completely hands on and they practice math, spelling and hand-eye coordination with the different games.

9 - We haven't introduced Luke to  Meccano yet because it seemed a little "older" and there's nothing worse than getting your kid a gift that's too complex for them to enjoy but I think that this is the year.  He loves to "tinker" with tools and I think that this will engage his love of building and following a set of instructions as well as his desire to know the "how and why" of mechanical things.  I am SO EXCITED about getting him some Meccano for Christmas!

10 - Dave and I vowed a while ago that we weren't going to buy anymore Lego sets for our boys because they have a TON of Legos - but, once again,  the Star Wars setsare on the top of his Christmas list :)  Dave and I probably won't be buying him Legos but that's what grandparents are for, right? :) 

11 - If y'all don't have  Quirkle add it to your Christmas list RIGHT NOW!  It is so much fun and we play it multiple times a week.  Mason and Luke can play together and we can all play as a family as well.  It's one of the best games - promise!

12 - Luke REALLY wants an  over-the-door basketball set (not sure where he got the idea - but it's so fun!) and I can't wait to see his face when he opens it up on Christmas morning.

13 - Luke is really into all things Pokemon and this is one of those  ridiculous little banks where the character pops up and grabs the coin to put it into the bank.  I think he'll get a HUGE kick out of it!

14 - Luke got  this bow and arrow set for his birthday and has enjoyed hours of fun with it since then.  Gram and Papa Mac gave it to him along with  this target blockand it's been a blast.  Keep in mind that these are REAL metal-tipped arrows and so you'll want to make sure you're supervising play/practice.  

A couple of years ago I put together these gift guides by price - they're lots of our favorite toys and books and favorite items to gift as well.


Dave is always the hardest one to shop for but he LOVES several of the items from the guide below...

1/2 - I mentioned before that Dave RARELY buys anything for himself, so I really love picking up pieces for him that I know he'll wear a ton and will last a long time.  Since he's in and out of restaurant kitchens all day he doesn't love spending time/money on his work wardrobe (he's SUPER basic when it comes to that) but he does appreciate some good Nike apparel :)  

3 - I talked about these slippers last week and they would be a great gift that the recipient would get lots of years of wear out of.  They're a bit of a splurge and something that they might not buy themselves which would be a great surprise on Christmas morning.

4 - Dave got a  portable Bose speaker last year and has used it pretty much every day since.  It's what we play music on throughout our house, out by the pool, in the driveway when we're doing yard stuff, to Mason's football practice, etc.   This one is great because it's waterproof!

5 - Our family LOVES a good blanket and  this barefoot dreams throw is one of our favorites.  It's soft and light and perfect for snuggling up on the couch. 

6 - We don't need gloves very often in Texas, but if you live in a colder climate this pair is great because you don't have to take them off to use your smartphone.  Dave has a similar pair that he's already pulled out for the season :)

7 - I've been searching for a new cologne for Dave (this is something that he wouldn't go out and buy for himself) and am LOVING  this Joe Malone scent.  It has great reviews as well!

8 - I mentioned that Dave's work wardrobe is pretty basic, but he does love  fun socks and the kids always have fun picking them out for him.  

9 - I gave Dave  this zip-front jacket and he's already worn it way more than I thought he would. It's washed and worn really well and is a piece that I think he'll have in his closet for a long time.

10 -  These flip flops would be a perfect stocking stuffer because who couldn't use an extra pair of flip flops!

11 - Dave's notorious for just grabbing his credit card and throwing it into his pocket when we go places and I think  this cell phone case would work really well for him. 


Walmart online has free two-day shipping on orders over $35 which I love because I stock up and they ship FAST.  Also, Walmart has great prices on our favorite brands like Oral-B.  There are some great holiday sets available right now like  this Avengers set (I grabbed this to split up between the boys stockings), this  Frozen spin brush, and these  Cars and  Princess toothbrush sets.  Dave and I use the 3D White toothpaste so Santa will be putting  this box set in each of our stockings as well :) Braun is also running a fantastic deal on  this beard trimmer that will be in Dave's stocking on Christmas morning as well.

Other items that we always like to have on hand are  The Wet BrushCrayola Bath Dropz (these are so much fun!!!),  Everyone Kids Soap (this is the BEST!!!),  Band-Aidsand  packages of ChapStick (which my kids always need in their backpacks).

I'd love to know what gift guides you're looking for/looking forward to this year.  Let me know in the comments!

PS - this post contained affiliate links... thank y'all so much for reading and supporting my blog!


  1. Except for a couple of items, we are done with extended family. I collect stocking stuffers all year. Our kids don't really need anything & have said they don't want much, so I think we will try to do a small trip for a couple of days after Christmas.

  2. I always love your gift guides! My 8 year son loves the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dogman books, too. Unfortunately, he’s read all of them! What series did your boys enjoy after those books? :)

  3. WHOAH! This is a really great post!!!!! Love the ideas!

  4. I always love your gift guides! They are so helpful when shopping for our nieces and nephews. I would like to see a woman's gift guide- it's nice to have new ideas for sisters/friends/moms. Thanks!

  5. I feel like I just hit the jackpot with all this!! Great post!!
    That Inspired Chick

  6. Where are things for yourself? Women

  7. We have that Bose speaker and were heading out of town for vacation, and we accidentally left it on the hood of our car where it stayed while we drove through town, then finally flew off when we were flying down the interstate. It bounced down the road and I assumed got run over, but my husband insisted on pulling off the interstate and running up the ramp to find it - this was against my advice because I was sure he would also get run over. Anyway, he found it and it still works perfectly! We love that little thing!

  8. My son was gifted the National Parks good, and it is great! Simple, very easy to ready (which is important bc he is 1 and has a very limited attention span), great colors and pictures!

  9. What is on your list this year?!

  10. I just ended up ordering two items from your 4 year old list for my newly 4 year old girl. Thank you for the ideas!!


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