Gift Guide for Your Teen Girl

Gift Guide for Your Teen Girl

Shop Now for a Stress Free December!

Attention parents and grandparents of teenage girls! Not sure what to get your teenager? Check out the ideas below! Also see our gift guide for boys and ideas for stocking stuffers!  No decisions to make.  Just choose one or all! Any teenage girl would love one of these gifts.  Happy shopping! Mel and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season! (affiliate links are included).


  1. Lululemon Heathered Black Wunder Under Pant Hi-Rise–  Love these!
  2. Bohemian Multi-Colored Sequin Cuff Bracelet–  Super cute and great with any outfit.
  3. GoPro Hero6–  Dream gift for the adventurous girl.
  4. Ferbia Women’s Pointed Toe Boots–  Cute for jeans or dressing up.
  5. Wireless, Waterproof, Shower Speaker–  This has built-in mic, suction cup, and 5W speaker.  Great for the shower, pool or anywhere she wants to go.
  6. ArtNaturals Aromatherapy Essential Oil and Diffuser Set–  Comes with 8 starter oils:  peppermint, tea tree, rosemary, orange, lemongrass, lavender, eucalyptus, and frankincense.  Has auto shut-off and a 7 color LED light.  So many uses for oils!
  7. Cute Elastic Waist Peacock Pajama Pants–  100% cotton, super comfy.
  8. The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal:  A Five-Year Record (goes with the book The Happiness Project)-  This would be a great gift for the beginning of high school or college!
  9. Kate spade New York Activity Tracker–  Cute way to keep track of all activity.
  10. Air Chalks Set:  10 Colorful Hair Chalk Pens–  Temporary color for fun accents on occasion.
  11. 12 pcs. Makeup Brush Set-  Cup holder and 12 professional cosmetic brushes


Gift Guide for your Teen Boy

Gift Guide for your Teen Boy

Gift Guide for Teen Boys

Buying gifts for my boys has always been really fun.  One thing that we have really tried to instill in them is a sense of gratefulness.  This is not always easy in this day and age.  Some ideas that have worked for us are listed below.

  1.  Each time the boys make money, whether it’s allowance, money they’ve earned at a job, or gift money for their birthday, we ask that they save some for gifts that they might have to purchase in the future.  This shows them that what they save matters.  And, when they are shopping for gifts for friends or family, it means so much more to them that they are contributing to it themselves.
  2.   When our boys receive gifts, they are required to write thank you notes.  This is not something that they enjoy, but they still have to do it.  Sometimes, I am better than others at reminding them to do this, but I feel like it is so important to show gratitude to others for taking the time to purchase something that they like or enjoy.  Most gifts cost money as well, so that needs to be appreciated as well.
  3. My boys have to think ahead and purchase gifts for one another.  They really put a lot of thought into this process, and it’s been fun over the years to see what they come up with.  Usually 2 go in together for the third boy, and so they work together, which is also really fun to see.  Sometimes they purchase gifts, and occasionally, they will make gifts.  They also are supposed to get my husband and I each something, usually with help from us:)

We make a big deal about Christmas and birthdays around here, which is so fun as we go through the year.  I am so looking forward to having our college boy home for the holidays and doing all the fun activities that surround the season.

We hope that you enjoy the list of guy gifts, and that they help you as you shop for your sons! Also check out our gift guides for teen girls and ideas for stocking stuffers!(Affiliate links below)


1. Remote control helicopter–  These have been a favorite at our house for years.  The boys will fly them inside and out.  They will also have helicopter wars which is very entertaining.  Very easy to use, too!  They taught me to fly one a few years back.

2.  Nike sweatshirt–  My boys love all things Nike.  This is a great dark color that I like without being black.

3.  GoPro HERO Session–  My middle son has one of these, and the boys have had a great time experimenting with it in many situations.  It is waterproof up to 33 feet as well.  This is surprisingly affordable, starting at $140.

4.  ENO Doublenest Hammock–  This is built for 2.  So much fun for camping, hiking, and just plain lounging. They are very sturdy and comfortable.  I dare you to climb in and not fall asleep when your son isn’t looking!

5.  Virtual Reality Headset–  Pansonite has worked for over 2 years to improve on these 3D glasses.  They are               supposed to be great for VR games and 3D movies, and they will work with both iPhone and Android                       smartphones.  I thought these were super expensive, but they are only $35.99!  I have 2 boys that are wishing for these this Christmas:)

6.  FitBit Charge 2–  This watch is a great way for your teen to track workouts with pulse and heart rate                           monitoring.  It has lots of other features including alarm, text and calendar notifications.  A bit more                           expensive, but does have lots of capabilities.

7.  Wireless Gaming Chair–  These can connect to other chairs for a great gaming experience.  This could be the only furniture in my basement and the boys would be thrilled.  This is their dream gift this year.  Not sure it will happen, but they can hope!

8.  Gym bag/backpack–  Converts to be either a gym bag or backpack.  It’s water and tear resistant which is                  great for something that will be thrown around.  It comes in 4 colors.

9.  Dart board with 6 darts–  We have one of these, and our boys love challenging each other to a game.  Great game that is not electronic!  I’m sure there will be a tournament or two during the holidays!

10. LCD writing tablet–  This is a fun thing to have around just to sketch on.  Fun for any age.  Tic-tac-toe can be never-ending on this.

11.  Soft air FN Scar–  Like guns or not, boys will be boys.  Many an air soft war has been had in our backyard and neighborhood.  My boys said the list would be incomplete without including this.

11 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for your Teen!

11 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for your Teen!

Must Have Stocking Stuffers 

Stocking stuffers are my favorite way to give gifts to our boys! I know I have many fond memories growing up as a child of Christmas morning and running to see what was in my stocking.

One of my favorite Christmas memories was receiving a printout of the safety features of a car in my stocking.  I asked my parents if it was there by accident because it was a car that we didn’t have at the time.  Turns out that they had gotten this car for me to take back to college.  I was sooooo excited.  Mind you it was the ugliest car ever, but it was all mine, and I couldn’t have been happier. Needless to say, that was my favorite stocking stuffer ever, especially since the key was in the toe of my stocking.   (Sometime I will have to write a post on the ugly cars that my parents got for my sisters and I to drive.)

There are so many creative ways to give gifts in a smaller way. Our boys love to open their stockings first every Christmas morning.  Santa props them up next to the fireplace since a couple of times they have pulled the hooks off of the mantle from their weight.

We have put together a gift guide for your teens’ stockings. We have asked our kids for ideas, so here you go! (note: affiliate links are included to support our blog)



  1. Echo Spot    -This is a brand new! Doesn’t ship until December 19th. Now the new Echo Spot will “show” you things. It’s face now is a screen and you can watch videos, see your calendar and link to your camera feed to watch your sleeping baby. Amazing!
  2. Anker Power Core    –One of the most powerful ‘mini’ chargers on the market. It will add over one charge (6 hours talktime) to an iPhone 6, almost one charge to a Galaxy S6 or around one charge to most other phones.  These are great to throw in a backpack or purse.
  3. Wood Phone Cell Dock Stand   –Works for iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone 7 7Plus, iPhone 6/6s/6 Plus, Samsung S7 S7Edge, Huawei P10 and others.  This Beeiee iPhone dock offers special cutout to feed the power/sync cord. sync charging your phone and organizes cable.  Cell phone holder provides stable holding both vertically and horizontally and comfortable viewing for reading text and make Face Time calls.  It will amplify the sound as well.
  4. Swedish Fish    –‘Nuff said.  Really any candy works!
  5. Duct Tape   –The uses for duck tape are endless, both for crafts and   fixing things.  My boys have many rolls of tape, and they have used it for so many things!
  6. Sun Bum Chapstick  –Always a good choice!  Contains soothing Cocoa Butter.  Gluten Free/100% Vegan.  Petrochemical Free.
  7. Crazy Socks   –Moisture wicking, ventilation, smell free, soft touch and durability. Perfect gifts for a stocking!  Fits socks size 8-14; men shoes size 8-13 / women shoes size 7-13.  80% Cotton, 15% Nylon, 5% Spandex, soft and comfortable.
  8. Fitbit Alta Bands  –Track your activity levels, sleep patterns, and more with the black Fitbit Alta Activity Tracker in size small. This sleek band uses an array of sensors to keep track of how many steps you take, how far you walk, how many floors you climb, the number of calories you burn, and the time you spend active.  Alta is sweat, rain, splash proof.
  9. Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds  –Crystal clear stereo sound.  The in-ear headset built in bluetooth V4.1 technology and Mic. gives a real stereo music sound and stable calling. Sweatproof and waterproof.  Up to 7 hours talking time.  ( My son got these for his birthday and loves them for the gym!)
  10. A Dogs Purpose  –Everyone love a great dog movie.  But, seriously, any movie is a great idea for a stocking.  My boys always like a couple of movies for their stockings.
  11. Noise cancelling headphones   –Active Noise Cancelling technology. Significant noise reduction for travel, work and anywhere in between. Advanced active noise reduction technology quells airplane cabin noise, city traffic or a busy office, makes you focus on what you want to hear, enjoy your music, movies and videos. The noise cancellation function works well both in wire and wireless mode.

Don’t forget that cash and gift cards are also great small gifts that are always loved by any teenager!


Budget Friendly Ideas for the Holidays!

Budget Friendly Ideas for the Holidays!

Are You Ready to do More with Less this Holiday Season?

There are many ways to celebrate the Holidays.  I tell myself every year I’m going to save up or shop early and it never fails, life intervenes and my budget is shot.  Sound familiar?  Here we are just 2 months out. There is still time to plan!  I’ve have been searching the internet and asking friends for ideas on ways that they spend their holidays, and surprisingly, most of their favorite gifts don’t cost anything, or at least not much. (note: there are affiliate links in this post to help support our blog)

Here Are Some Low Budget Suggestions

The 4 Gift Rule

low budget gift giving, holidays

small holiday package

I’m sure many of you have heard of the 4 Gift Rule.  It goes like this.  You tell your family that they will each receive 4 gifts this year: something they NEED, something they WANT, something to WEAR, and something to READ.  If you don’t want to do just 4 gifts. You can do variations and/or additions to this rule which can be:  a gift to MAKE, a gift to EAT, and ONE more thing.  Of course, any variation of this is great! The 4 Gift Rule can really help your budget and also help your child focus on what’s important and what they really want.

My family had our own gift giving tradition.  Since there were 3 Wise Men that visited baby Jesus, that meant that there were 3 gifts.  Our boys each received 3 gifts for Christmas while they were growing up from both us and Santa.  Now, obviously, the gifts are just from us, no more Santa.  This is/was great because it really limits the amount of shopping that we have to do.  We also love to do lots of inexpensive and fun little items for each stocking which I look for all year long.  

Give to Charities

Another option for giving gifts, would be to look outside of the home to the many charities out there that do great things all over the world.  Charities can be local, national, or international.  Some great organizations to look into would be:  Heifer International, Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child box, Operation Gratitude for soldiers overseas, Angel Tree which gives gifts to children whose parents are in prison, or your local food bank.

“No Money” Gifts

low budget holiday gifts

Holiday Baking


There are many “no money” gift ideas.  These include things that your kids can make or ways to spend time with them which is already a great gift!  I’ve listed some ideas below but I am sure that you could come up with some on your own, once I get you started…


  1. Bake holiday cookies, preferably ones that you can decorate because that is so much more fun!  Take some to an elderly neighbor or a teacher.

2.  Create a scavenger hunt around the house, neighborhood or city. Invite friends and have a friendly competition. Then meet for dinner at a favorite local restaurant and give out prizes for the most original treasures that were found.

3.  Make hot chocolate and head out to see the local Christmas lights.

4.  Pop in a holiday movie and string popcorn and cranberries for your tree.

5.  Have a family game night with your favorite carols playing in the background.

6.  Start a holiday journal.  Keep track of things your family is grateful for, traditions that you celebrate each year and new ones that you would like to start.

7.  Send a handwritten letter to someone far away by snail mail.  Tell them your favorite memory that you have with them or something that makes them special to you.

Does this put you in the mood for Christmas?  It is a little early, but sometimes with a little planning and thought, the actual season might be a little more relaxing and enjoyable.  We hope that some of these ideas help you in the coming months.  We are working on our gift guides and will post soon!

Let us know if your family has any holiday traditions that we should try!

6 Books You Should Read if You’re the Parent of a Teenager

6 Books You Should Read if You’re the Parent of a Teenager

6 Books To Read When Raising Teenagers, In No Particular Order

I was thinking the other day about all the information in my head about raising kids, teenagers in particular. I am a such a reader, that it is really hard to pin down my favorites, because I rarely meet a book that I don’t like.  We are all looking for answers, strategies, and ideas to try.  I tried to think about where I have looked over the years to help us when we were frustrated or upset, or just needing a few pointers.  When it comes to parenting, here are 6 of my favorite go-to books. (Please note: Amazon affliate links are included in this post.)

1) Teen-Proofing Fostering Responsible Decision Making in Your Teenager I have to say that John Rosemond is my parenting mentor, guru, go-to guy!!!!!!!  I have every single book of his, or did have, because I have loaned out some and never got them back!  He is amazing.  No nonsense, but loving strategies that work.  He terms himself as a parent, as someone who uses “grandma’s law”.  I love him!

If you have toddlers, then Making the Terrible Twos Terrific was awesome, that’s the first book of his that I read.  I have recommended it hundreds of times to personal friends and families that I have come into contact as a preschool teacher.  

Teen-Proofing research was begun by him as a parent of teenagers himself years ago.  This is a great book to refer back to again and again, as are all of his books.  “Managing teens so they make self-protective rather than self-destructive decisions is teen-proofing.”  The book is full of real world examples that are simple to implement.  

2) This was a book that I had to read back when I was still teaching, long before I had my own kids, let alone teenagers, but it was so good that I held onto it.  On the back of the book, the blurb says, “…Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I-give-up’ habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue.  These skills can help break up depression, boost your immune system, better develop your potential, and make you happier.”  Huh!  That’s a big mouthful, but really it means that you can learn how to talk to yourself in a more  positive way.  I had to read it, so I did.  It’s a bit text booky, but really interesting.  So, I do recommend it because it gives real life examples and you really can use the information to change your life for the better, which in turn will help your kids, your marriage, really all aspects of your life.  It truly might save someone’s life with some of these strategies.

 3) The Optimistic Child is a sequel to Seligman’s first book with children specifically in mind.  It shows the relationship between what children think and how it affects their lives.  “This book shows that learning the skills of optimism not only reduces the risk of depression in children but also boosts school performance improves physical health, and provides them with the self-reliance they need as they approach the teenage years and adulthood.”  

Again, a bit text booky, but so applicable!  I have tried to use many of the strategies with my kids in conversations over the years.  As I am skimming through to write this post, I am amazed at all the strategies that I could still use, and thinking maybe I will reread a chapter or two!  You can teach your child how to talk to him or herself in their heads.  It is amazing how negative we can be to our own selves.  This book and his first show how this is a skill that can be taught (and learned!)  both for adults and kids.  Try it:)


4)  The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch  Ok, this is a gem.  Pausch wrote this as a “last lecture” which many professors are asked to do imagining that it is the end of their life and wanting to share a great lesson.  He actually was dying, and it truly was his last lecture.  But, it wasn’t about dying.  His lecture and the book are all about LIVING.  I have read snippets and chapters out loud to my kids at bedtime, in the car on trips, in the middle of a teenage drama scene in our own house…  His words are great, and not to be forgotten.  Life is too short, so get busy!



5)  Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement This book is hilarious.  It is the journal of Wyma’s year of working with her family to get back to the real world.  She has a great writing voice, and I loved everything she had to say.  She breaks down each month’s goal into bite-sized chunks, gives advice to the reader about the ups and downs of living through this experience.

She has a blog called The MOAT blog  (MOAT stands for A Mother of Adolescents and Teens) which I recommend.  She did a bootcamp this past summer with her Cleaning House goals in mind.  

I have 3 boys, and the last thing that I want a future daughter-in-law to say to me is that my son doesn’t know how to help around the house.  All of my boys know how to cook and clean, among other things.  It was nice to read her book for affirmation that I am not the only “mean mom” around!

6) the Homework Hassle John Rosemond  I told you that I was crazy about this guy!  This is again a book that we have gone back to again and again over the years.  Such practical and user friendly advice.  We have used many of his strategies, and I will have to say ALL have worked.  His advice is the type that you do a headslap and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?!”  

I’m a teacher, and I wish that I had known about this guy back when I was in my 4th grade classroom.  The main thing that I like about this book is that it helps the parent move the child to independence at school which leads to more success at school.  

Okay, so that is my list for your reading pleasure.  I always like to have a parenting book with me as well as a book for pleasure.  Actually, I’m such a book nerd, that I love these non-fiction parent-help books just as much, maybe even more than some fiction because they are so helpful.  It’s always good to feel smarter at the end of the day.  

Good luck, and let us know if you have any parenting books that you would recommend!