Gift Ideas

8 Gift Ideas for the Host or Hostess

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Greetings all, are you feeling the frenzy yet?  I started to feel it today, with a million things on my plate. The kids are home from school this week (who’s idea was that?) which adds to the craziness, but I finally got a chance to sit down for a spell to answer some emails and create this list.

I was asked by several readers this month to recommend some gifts for a host or hostess that don’t cost a fortune.  Most of us will be invited to a soirée or two this holiday season, whether a big Christmas party or smaller get together with friends. It’s a gracious gesture to bring your host or hostess something special they’ll use or appreciate but I don’t think you need to spend a lot of money. 

Of course, there’s always the lovely gift of a bottle of wine or bubbly (forever welcome at my house!) or the thoughtful presentation of a homemade treat if time permits. Here are eight more ideas for less predictable stylish gifts for your entertainer: 

1.  Bowl Her (or Him) Over.  Little sets of bowls are perfect for smaller amounts of sauces or condiments.  Bright colors or rustic wood bowls will blend well with so many table settings, stack them up and tie them with a big bow, they’re sure to be a hit. 

wood bowls

Lacquerware bowls, $17 each, Branch Home; Acacia Bowls; $6-$11, One Sydney Road

 

2.  Shake Shake Shake.  Salt and pepper shakers or mills are such a great gift, they’re one of those necessary items required for any dinner or buffet but something one rarely buys for oneself. Find a rustic, nostalgic, quirky, or colorful version to give to your host or hostess and you’ll be thought of fondly every time he or she seasons the food!    salt and pepper shakersKing + Queen salt and pepper, $40 Perpetual Kid; Mason Jar salt and pepper; $16 Terrain; Turquoise Pepper Mill, $42 Target

      

3.  Spread the Love.   Cheese spreaders are universally appreciated and so useful for all those dips, spreads, and appetizers.  I know I could certainly use a new set, and these are two of my recently found favorites.  

cheese spreaders

Vintage Cheese Knives, $29 Williams Sonoma;  Wine Cork Spreaders, $15, Z Gallerie

    

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Twenty Great New Children’s Books

Monday, November 14th, 2011

I love to take my kids to the library to borrow books and also to the bookstore to look for new favorites. I’m always on the hunt for new books to add to their library or give as gifts to other children. This past weekend we visited the local bookstore which has a great children’s section. There were so many great books, we stayed for two hours!

I’m really picky when it comes to children’s books, they have to well written and wonderfully illustrated. Great pictures are a must for me, if I don’t love the illustrations I won’t buy the book! Quite a few new books caught my eye while I was at the bookstore, so I thought I’d compile a list with my quick synopsis of the tales within. 

All of these children’s books include either a heartwarming story or a fun adventure combined with great illustrations. I’ve read and love them all, and even bought a few to tuck under the Christmas tree. If you’re looking for a charming gift for boys and girls this holiday season, I highly recommend these for children ages 4 to 9.  Listed in no order of preference.

 twenty great childrens books 2011

 

#1  Kiki & Coco in Paris, Stephanie Rausser and Nina Gruener

kiki and coco in paris

Hot of the presses, and perfect for fans of the famous city of Paris.  Kiki is a girl, Coco is her handmade cloth doll, and the two are inseparable. Together they travel to the City of Lights but Coco gets lost!  This tale of friendship will delight, and is filled with gorgeous photography of Paris seen through the eyes of Kiki & Coco.

 

       #2  Fandango Stew, David Davis

fandango stew cover

Two penniless and famished cowboys ride in to Skinflint and try to convince the stingy townsfolk to help them cook up some fandango stew. Cooperation leads to a tasty concoction everyone loves in this humorous take on the folktale Stone Soup.  It’s as fun to look at as it is to read out loud, filled with all the best of the Old West slang.  

          

#3  E-mergency!  Tom Lichtenheld & Ezra Fields Meyer

e-mergency

The alphabet all lives together in harmony until one day the letter E takes a tumble down the stairs.  Chaos ensues!  How will the world function without the letter E?  While E recovers, the letter O fills in, and the jokes and puns keep readers laughing throughout.  

 

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