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Best Creative and Inexpensive Homemade Gifts!

Whether it’s something from your kitchen, craft room, woodworking shop, or computer, there’s nothing like a homemade gift. A tree ornament, a plate of cookies, box of fudge, note cards—just a few of the many homemade gift ideas with universal appeal.

I love homemade gifts both to give and receive. No wonder I have so many favorites!

Homemade-christmas-gift-of-cookies

Hand and Body Lotion

A jar of your own signature luxury hand and body lotion will definitely put you on the map. It’s that good. Not particularly crafty? No worries.

If you can assemble, empty, stir and mix well, you’ve got what it takes to make dozens of these gifts start to finish in a single evening.

 

And the best part? About $3.50 per gift, depending on where you buy the ingredients and containers.

I have created a photo tutorial at A Homemade Gift You’d Actually Love to Receive with all of the step-by-step instructions and specifics on the ingredients and where to get them.

Believe me when I say this is the gift your recipient(s) will rave about. It’s that awesome!

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2019 Holiday Gift Guide—Best Gift Ideas for KIDS!

Birth to Preschool

I have identified the following toys to be the best overall for little ones from birth to preschool. Please assess the age-appropriateness for your particular child as this can vary.

Each of these toys stimulates interaction prompting the child to engage and solve problems. All have been thoroughly tested and found to be safe—and declared to be super affordable!

1. Dump & Go Dump Truck

Child learns numbers as he or she drops a colorful rock into the top of this cheerful dump truck toy and watches it tumble into the bucket. A great early education toy for toddlers, this Vtech Dump & Go Dump Truck includes colorful buttons that play melodies plus phrases teach tools and colors. Intended for toddlers ages 6 months to 3 years old; 2 AAA batteries are included for demo; use new batteries for regular use.

2. Sassy Whimsical Wheel STEM Learning Toy

The spinning center pieces provide for visual tracking and strengthening of fine motor skills. The suction cup on the Sassy Whimsical Wheel STEM Learning Toy attaches to surfaces for frustration-free play.

3. Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

This beautiful interactive learning baby walker has a removable play panel. An early learning center, it has 5 piano keys that play music and encourage creativity; wheels work on carpeted and hard floors. Features 2 colorful spinning rollers, 3 shape sorters, and 3 light-up buttons that develop motor skills. Pretend telephone handset and mechanical elements enhance role-play fun; 2 AA batteries are included. Over 70 sing-along songs, music, sound effects, and fun phrases. VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker is meant for babies and toddlers 9 months to 3 years old.

 

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4. Turn and Learn Driver

Your little one will love pretending to drive using the steering wheel toy that causes the cute dog character to move back and forth. Press the 5 colorful buttons on the learning toy and your child will be introduced to different animals and vehicles; great early education toy
The fun Turn and Learn Driver encourages imaginative play with a traffic light, a signal lever that triggers fun sounds and music; gear shifter that pushes and pulls to introduce opposites
Baby driving toy Includes 3 play modes so your little toddler driver can learn in animal, driving and music mode. Makes a great gift for a 6-month to 2-year-old boy or girl; operates on 2 AA batteries that are included for demo purposes only, use new batteries for regular use.

5. Dinosaur Toys Set of 4

I just adore these dinosaurs! A great gift for preschool boys or girls. The Dinosaur Toys Playset includes four dinosaurs all on wheels. Encourages imaginative play for ages 24 months and older. So darn cute, too!

6. Lil’ Critters Moosical Beads

This musical baby toy features a variety of fabric textures for baby tactile development; cuddle up with the soft cuddly stuffed animal cow. This music toy has an easy to grasp bead ring; bead ring has light-up buttons, and a spinning square for fine motor skills development. Talking and singing stuffed toy for babies comes with 30+ playful songs, melodies, sounds and phrases; allows kids to have a musical good time. The size of the plush cow toy makes a great crib toy, or even a diaper bag toy for babies. For babies 0 to 24 months. 2 AAA batteries included for demo, use new batteries for regular use. Lil’ Critters Moosical Beads.

7. Mega Bloks Big Building Bag, 80-Piece Set

Set includes 80 building blocks for hours of play. Blocks are big and easy for little fingers to assemble. Mega Bloks Big Building Bag Encourages hands-on exploration as children imagine and create. Compatible with all Mega Bloks sets for endless building possibilities. Age 12 mos to 5 years.

8. Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether Toy

This mesmerizing maze of safe, soft, continuous tubes is a perfect baby teething toy. Infant toy promotes clutching and two-handed play; middle cube contains a pleasing rattle sound. Multiple newborn toy award winner, including the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Blue Chip Award. Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether Toy is safe; the teethable plastic loops are BPA free. Suitable for ages 0-24 months.

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Age 4 and Up

You may be familiar with Mike Rowe, the host of TV’s “Dirty Jobs” and “Somebody’s Got To Do It.” You may also be familiar with his new passion and challenge—to close the skills gap in this country, which is the reason millions of jobs in the U.S. are going unfilled. The skills gap is the chasm between millions of young people who are ready to enter the workforce and the skills they need but don’t have, to qualify for those jobs.

This fact begs the question: Who will be the electricians, mechanics, welders, plumbers and HVAC experts of tomorrow? Rowe is devoting his life to closing the skills gap by inspiring young people to learn how to do stuff, and how to do it well.

The next 8 recommended gifts for kids ages 4 through 8 or older would surely make Mike Rowe proud! These toys make taking things apart and putting them back together challenging and super fun.

They make growing a garden magical and spelling words correctly very satisfying—especially when you’re only 4 years old! But make no mistake, many of these toys will hit a bullseye with 5-to-8-year-olds, and older. It depends on the child! In fact, at least one is rated for ages 6 to 96!

9. Take Apart Toy Tool Truck

This fun and colorful electronic toy truck with tools includes 1 toy truck, 1 electric toy drill (with 2 detachable tool heads), 3 hand tools, 7 hexagonal/cross screws and nails, 1 truck driver, and 4 removable wheels. This colorful truck comes to life with front headlights, honking sounds, musical tunes (with an on/off button) and has a bump-and-go action to change directions when it hits another object or wall. Real working electric drill with interchangeable bits. So. Much. Fun!

10. LeapFrog Number Lovin’ Oven

The perfect recipe for number learning fun! From counting and cooking to serving and sharing, it’s preschool prep for little chefs—16 fun ingredients included! Easy take-and-go play—everything fits inside! Includes interactive oven, 4 pizza slices, 3 pieces of bread, 2 cupcakes, 1 fried egg, 1 skillet, 1 spatula, 1 baking tray, and 2 Plates. Nourish math learning: cut food into 2, 3 or 4 equal pieces. Delightful singing oven encourages counting, sharing, and vocabulary skills; 30+ phrases and songs. LeapFrog Number Lovin’ Oven offers a fun and interactive way to explore early number concepts including recognizing numbers, counting along and sharing. 24 months to 5 years.

11. 3-Letter Words

Learning to spell becomes fun and easy with 3 Letter Words. These colorful three letter puzzle card sets provide children with a great introduction to spelling and will help to expand their vocabulary. They learn to spell by associating the object with the word and correctly assembling the puzzle pieces. The puzzle pieces are self-correcting so only the right spelling goes together! The set includes 20 puzzle sets. Great learning toy! For ages 4 and up.

12. Enchanted Fairy Garden Craft Kit

With a little creative magic, your child can grow his or her very own enchanted fairyland. This open-ended fairy craft kit lets your child embrace his or her creative side by making a unique creation that’s all their own. It contains everything you need—just add water! Enchanted Fairy Garden Craft Kit includes an 11″ diameter flower-shaped paintable potting dish, enchanted flower house, gemstones, flowers, butterflies, paint, potting mix and seeds that grow like magic. See your child’s creative side come to life as she paints and decorates her fairy garden. Learn about botany and the life cycle of plants as your child watches their fairy garden grow! This kit includes non-toxic materials. Ages 7 to 97.

13. Sparkle N’ Grow Butterfly Terrarium

Perfect for the budding botanist, an aspiring artist or both! This kit allows you to craft, plant, water and grow your own beautiful butterfly terrarium. Comes with everything you need! Kit includes plastic mason-style jar, decorative lid, potting mix, organic chia, and wheat grass seeds, craft accessories and a plant mister to keep your terrarium watered. Make your terrarium sparkle and shine with butterfly wings, sparkling stickers, feather butterflies, flowers and more! Create your own eco-system and learn about botany and the life cycle of plants. Your habitat will begin to grow in as little as 3-4 days. Ages 6 to 96.


Listen right here to today’s really short Podcast episode … 


14. Dinosaur Take Apart Toys With Tools

Love this construction, engineering STEM learning and toy-building playset for ages 3 – 12 years. The Dinosaur Take Apart Toys With Tools set includes 6 dinosaurs, 2 t-rex dinosaurs, 2 ceratopsid dinosaurs, and 2 brontosauruses, includes a set of 4 unique tools for assembly. Includes a total of 4 screwdrivers and a pack of 6 assembled dinosaurs, which can be taken apart and reassembled. Sturdy, quality made a perfect gift for all toddlers and young kids.

15. Snap Circuits SC-300 Electronics Discovery Kit

Build over 300 exciting projects including an AM radio, burglar alarm and more. This kit contains more than 60 parts and requires 4 AA batteries, not included. Snap Circuits SC-300 Electronics Discovery Kit won The National Parenting Center-Seal of Approval. Comes with a clear and concise illustrated Manual, which is also available online. No tools required. Age 8 and up.

16. Educational Construction Engineering Building Blocks

Engineering Blocks are built to develop your child’s science, technology, engineering and math skills. Challenge your kids to build creative designs, trucks, transformers , helicopters, robots and more! This 101-Piece Educational Construction Engineering Building Blocks is designed to support a child’s creativity as he or she grows. Age 3 through 6+ years.


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Gift-Giving: What’s the Point?

The simple act of gift-giving has become extremely complicated. I blame that on the consumer credit industry.

Think about it: You can be completely broke but still spend thousands of dollars on Christmas gifts—and believe it is not only your right to do so but that you are obligated to do it.

The culture has created a message that we have to spend a lot on Christmas gifts to be socially acceptable.

Christmas vintage presents on a wooden background

Gift-giving is a custom that has pretty much run amok. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can choose to make wise and reasonable decisions about the gifts we give.

How many of you cannot recall the gifts you gave last Christmas? How about the gifts you received? Come on, let’s see those hands. Okay, that’s just about everybody.

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6 Awesome Gifts of Summer to Make Now for Christmas

Even if you didn’t have an abundant garden this year, don’t worry. You can still make these wonderful gifts of summer to hold onto for Christmas. You can find everything you need at a local farmer’s market.

How wonderful it will be when you welcome the holiday season knowing your gifts are ready to go.

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Photo credit: AFamilyFeast.com

Freezer jam

Mix 2 cups crushed fresh strawberries with 4 cups sugar, and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir one package dry pectin into 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 1 minute. Stir the boiling water into the strawberries. Allow to stand for 3 minutes before pouring into jars or other storage containers. Place tops on the containers, and leave for 24 hours. Freeze and store frozen until ready to give. Makes 5 pints.

Isn’t that a cute label for “Christmas Jam?” It’s a free printable HERE from AFamilyFeast.com

MORE: Peach Freezer Jam

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