The time for school shopping is here again, and we’re all combing over those long lists of very specific supplies we need for our kids. Sure, they all need their standard-issue marble composition books, but wouldn’t it be nice to get them something special to write in, as an added treat? My friend designed these fun and affordable soft cover back to school notebooks available on Amazon that will suit the most random and obscure interests of just about any kid (or adult!) Plus, they get delivered straight to your door! Click on the affiliate links for more details for each notebook.
Check out this sampling of what you can find there, starting with your littlest learners and going all the way up to college. One thing to note: the term “composition notebook” can mean various sizes on Amazon and isn’t limited to the small dimensions of the marble-covered books with the sewn binding. All of the books here, except the planner, are 8.5 x 11 in. in size.
Let’s start with the little ones!
Draw and Write Books for K-2 kids:
These full size notebooks contain creative writing paper. Each page has space at the top for a title, a picture box for the drawing an illustration and then five lines for writing, each consisting of two lines (top and bottom) 0.65″ apart and a dotted line in the center to help beginners stay on track with their letter sizing.
High school and college kids love to express their personalities through their school supplies. Whether they prefer florals and butterflies or quirky antique celestial charts, there’s a notebook here they’ll love.
Who says you have to start your weekly planner in January?We all know back-to-school is the unofficial beginning of the year and the start of new habits. This 6 x 9 in. undated planner will appeal to someone who has a sense of humor and a lot of tasks and goals to keep track of. It even includes an internet password page at the end.
I’m not much for the Black Friday hoopla, but I can get down with Cyber Monday. You can’t beat shopping in your pajamas or while you’re at work . . . on break of course. So I’m making lists and checking them twice and hoping I can get some steals and deals for my teen girls. Even if these gifts don’t go on sale, there is a price point for everyone. All gifts have been Daughters of the Sisterhood approved, so behold in no particular order . . .
A card game about kittens and explosions and sometimes goats. I mean, what more can we say? If we didn’t have you at exploding kittens, we should have nabbed you at goats.
In this highly-strategic, kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette, players draw cards until someone draws an Exploding Kitten, at which point they explode, they are dead, and they are out of the game — unless that player has a defuse card, which can defuse the Kitten using things like laser pointers, belly rubs, and catnip sandwiches. All of the other cards in the deck are used to move, mitigate, or avoid the Exploding Kittens.
It’s family-friendly for ages 7 and up, super portable, and provides hours of fun.
And if you have a mermaid tail you might as well complete the look with the pillow. These things are addictively relaxing. You rub your hand over them to change the pattern and color of the sequins. Your teen could probably use the good, clean stress relief.
Flavored water is all the rage, and infusing it yourself is more economical and healthy. This 32 oz beauty comes in a variety of colors and features a securely locking lid so that your hydration doesn’t leak all over your backpack.
Honestly, you’d have any teen girl at Bluetooth speaker, but combining it with an adjustable color night light is so cool it will elevate you into the realm of best gift-giver ever. Even comes with the USB and AUX cords, and you can never have enough of those.
This little gift is affordable, but bursting with “wow factor.” My daughter uses her’s to listen to music in the shower because she can control it with voice commands. She also calls out to add things to her calendar or one of her lists. Honestly, this gadget would really be a winner for anyone on your list.
I cannot say that these are affordable, but they will make you a hero. With the lack of headphone jack on the iPhone “version whatever,” maybe you could say they were practical? Maybe even necessary. Suuuurrree.
These things are so popular. I can see why. They keep your drinks hot or cold for hoooouuuurrrrss. One thing though, the lid is not leak-proof, but no one seems to care. After much research, this is the link on Amazon for the authentic product.
If you don’t understand the now defunct social media platform, Vine, you are definitely not going to understand the appeal of this book. I might not have even included it on the list if my college sophomore daughter had not just given it to her high school junior sister for her birthday. They LAUGHED and LAUGHED. One warning, it does have strong language and themes, but for under four dollars you can buy yourself the title of coolest aunt ever.
So while the previous book was for the older teen set, this one works well for the younger ones on your list. Just a well-written book where the characters’ voices ring true, especially the main character, Plum. What I appreciate most about this book is that the parents are not banished to the sideline as doofuses. They are a real part of Plum’s life, and of the story. In all, the relationships and story line make this an authentic, fun read.
If you don’t know that teen girls love socks, you don’t know teen girls. One of our previous gift lists was pick up by CNN and we were raked over the coals for socks being a crappy gift. Not. True. Trust us.
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links which means I get a few coins to complete my holiday shopping at no cost to you!
‘Tis the time in the season where we all hit gift gathering crunch time. Are you checking your lists and just now realizing there is nothing on there to “WOW” them? I mean, I know they really, really wanted that sweater and those boots, but will there be anything under the tree to surprise them and make them squeal “this is the best!”?
Are you thinking, “That’s a great point, but I’m also tallying up my credit card statement and there’s not a lot of ‘flow’ left to my cash.”
Well, delight can come cheap and easy, my friend. That “may” have not come out exactly as we intended, but with this list you can be a hero on par with Santa for not a lot of reindeer chow.
These right here are the entire reason this post was written. A friend told Ellen about them, and she was amazed! Every person Ellen has told about them has been amazed! Virtual reality for UNDER $10? It’s amazing!
So this is the world of Google Cardboard. You download the apps to your phone, pop it into this viewer, and you’re off to play games, explore ancient temples, or immerse yourself in the world of Star Wars. Just with this little thing. Really. These sturdy gems come fully assembled, and the only real complaint at this price point is that the cardboard hurts your nose. Some genius in the Amazon reviews discovered that slitting a Nerf dart along its length and slipping it over the cardboard edge provides the perfect cushion for your $8.99 wonder.
If you would like a bit more of a comfort upgrade, you can check out this plastic model. Still under $25!
Got a baseball player, tennis player, golf pro, or musician on your list? This fun little gadget can get them in tip-top shape in the most conversation-igniting way possible. You basically have to provide resistance against its spinning. It’s more addicting than it sounds. Trust us.
Never again get caught in the dark searching blindly through your handbag desperately trying to find your keys, cosmetics or other items that settle to the bottom of a cluttered purse. This little light is motion activated and turns off after a couple of seconds. Genius can be found in the simplest of ideas.
Speaking of losing things, we feel like we keep buying USB cables because we keep leaving them like breadcrumbs everywhere we go. Even if we have a plug or car charger available to us, we don’t have a cable. This beauty clips onto your purse or backpack to always be handy in a form meets function kind of situation. Works for Android and iPhone (there’s even a lightning cable).
Okay, maybe the last three gifts weren’t so much “wows” as much as they were “that’s pretty cool.” But seriously, just get the virtual reality glasses, be a hero, and call it a day.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Wait, let me make that a little more accurate: It’s the most INSANE time of the year! Okay, now I feel like the Grinch. How about, it’s the most insanely wonderful, wonderfully insane time of the year? THAT feels right.
There is so much to do during the holidays that many of us try to pare down our to-do lists as much as possible. This can result in some great things for your well-being like booting the cookies from the roster that take 15 steps, a kajillion hours, and that special ginger picked by virgin elk herders in the Himalayas. However, it can also lead to some hasty decisions like cutting out your gift exchange with your girlfriends. While this may free up some minutes, it can also throw a sopping wet blanket on the spark of your joy.
Some of my best—fun, soul-nourishing, hilarious, sentimental—times are created during my gift exchanges with my friends, be they secret or open, local or spanning the country. So for me, the secret is not to slash my gift list, but to simplify . . . and to borrow a fantastic idea when I hear it. My friend, Andrea, hit on what could possible be the best gift exchange idea ever: SOCKS!
Hear me out. There are so many options, sizing isn’t stressful, they can be so thoughtfully personal, you can find FANTASTIC ones for under $10, Amazon is dripping with them (but you can also find great ones at Walmart and Target), and they don’t add to clutter. Socks are not just for girlfriends either; men, teens, and kids love them, too. This makes them a great gift exchange idea for extended family, the office, and school. See? Perfect. And whoever can find it in their being to complain about adding a pair of socks to their drawer really needs to be kicked out of your tribe. Look, either way, your gift list just got simplified.
So without further ado, here are my personal suggestions.
Oh my goodness these are cute. And it’s a set! You could take care of 5 friends in one click! You can get on Amazon and search your desired breed too. I may or may not have these puggle socks in my cart.
One final funny that doubles as pretty sound advice too.
I could go on forever with these, but that last pair seems like a good place to stop. Don’t see anything you like here? Get yourself over to Amazon and search out any interest under the sun. I guarantee there’s a sock for that.
Here’s a little something extra for that person in your life you REALLY like. They’re all cozy in their new socks, why not give them a good—no great—book to cuddle up with? My friend, Ilana Wiles of Mommy Shorts, wrote a book that makes a perfect gift for anyone in your life who is a parent. This hardcover book is gorgeous and substantial. It’s filled with humor, truth, and actual real-life advice such as this gem for how to sneak in a nap: “I tell my son that his brother is better at giving back rubs than him. Then I close my eyes and enjoy the competition.” Get your copy of “The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting” here or fill out the form below to win one on us!
This giveaway is for one copy of The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting. Open only to residents of the continental United States. Winner will be notified by email at the end of the giveaway and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is picked.
‘Tis the season for gift guides, and we are pros at it. We have lists for the teens in your life: boys and girls. We have a guide for men and a specific one for kitchen gadgets.
But there is one gift we want to recommend that is so fabulous, it could be on any of the lists we’ve published: Jord Watches!
These beauties are made from all natural, untreated wood except for the the clasp and back which are stainless steel. How unique is that? And just look at how they’re packaged! The gorgeous gift box is silky smooth wood with a lid that slides back to reveal your timepiece nestled on its very own pillow. It really broadcasts from the moment it’s unwrapped that this is something special.
And it truly is. This is the gift for the people on your list who:
You love the most and want to “wow.”
Are the hardest to buy for because they have everything.
Are very style conscious.
Like only natural products to touch their skin.
Jord was kind enough to share two watches with us for our honest opinion, and honestly, we love them! We wear them all of the time, but it was so much easier to have our lovely daughters model them for photos. Now the only problem is they want to wear them all of the time. We should have known better, but there are birthdays and graduation coming up in the new year. Hmmmmm.
Erin received this stylish Zebrawood one from the Cora series:
I keep having to steal this watch back from my daughter. It is stunning when you put it up against her gorgeous red hair, so I understand why she would want it. But as a teacher by day, I love looking down at my wrist and seeing this watch’s pretty face to keep me on track. It totally brightens my every day, so she can’t have it to herself just yet.
I love being able to see the inner workings of my Dover watch. After years of using my cellphone as my timepiece, it’s nice to get back to something that feels so organic. I get compliments every time I wear it, including one from my hipster graphic designer brother-in-law. He noticed it right away at Thanksgiving. It’s not often I feel that cool.
So seriously, if you love someone, get them the perfect gift: Jord Watches. Shipping is free, even internationally, and Jord will even size it for you before it is sent out. With its one year guarantee, you can feel secure giving the gift of style this holiday season.
Teens are a notoriously tough crowd, so we get the sheer panic at trying to buy a gift for them. A stack of gift cards or a card stuffed with cash would certainly be appreciated, but there is no need to shy away from at least trying to surprise them. In the past, we have created lists just for teen girls and teen guys, but this year there is something for everyone in our teen gift guide. Miracles can happen. Perhaps you will find just the right gift to make your holiday sparkle a little brighter this year. Take a look!
Just For Fun
Don’t forget that teens are just kids who shave and drive. Get them back in touch with their inner child with some of these fun gifts!
Teens love water and electronics, but these two things don’t mix well. An especially good idea for your favorite lifeguard or swimmer, this shuffle will deliver their tunes and help keep their other electronics safe.
This is the perfect gift for any audiovisually inclined teen. The microphone works easily with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras alike. This mean that whether he’s recording his video game reviews or she’s showing off her dance moves, your future YouTube sensation will have supersonic, crystal clear audio.
Screw these into any can or track lighting, and you have awesome Bluetooth speakers plus a light show. By downloading an app, you control it all from your smartphone. Teens will appreciate the two-in-one approach to the fun.
Just use the app to connect this printer to any smartphone. Simply choose a photo and it will create a small, instant Instax print of the photo. Lots of people can connect to it at once which makes it great for parties and a winner for any tech-y, photo-loving teen.
Games Teens Play
Here’s a tip: a plain old deck of Bicycle Standard Index Playing Cards is a great stocking stuffer. Our teens love good old-fashioned cards, but if you want to get a little fancier, here are some winners we like.
Your teens will love it as much as ours do. They love teaming up as disease-fighting specialists in this one. If the disease spreads, everybody loses. If they contain the outbreak, they all win. Family fun and peace in one box. Fa-la-la-la-la.
Looking for some active fun? This game combines elements of virtually all outdoor games and lawn sports. Throwing, catching, strategy, teamwork, offense, and defense are part of every toss in game play.
Watney’s humor and humanity breathe life into this well-paced and thoughtfully constructed story about a man’s struggle for survival in an unforgiving environment. His plucky ultimate underdog self will win teen hearts as the real science sprinkled throughout engages their minds.
This story of first love is peopled with high schoolers the way we remember them and know them now. Funny, sweet, vulnerable, flawed, and deeply striving for love, acceptance, and independence, these are characters to cheer for and your teens will. The Barnes and Noble sales rack calls this a teen romance. It’s so much more. A buoyant, wonderful read that makes a perfect gift.
If you have a music-loving teen, this gift is thoughtful and practical. No ads, total control over what songs they hear, and the ability to keep the music playing even without phone service make Spotify a winner.
Got an athlete? This combination step tracker + GPS sport watch tracks steps, pace, distance covered and calories burned. It will even tell you to get up and get moving if you have been hanging around too long.
Made from super-strong, orange nylon webbing, this camera strap attaches to the camera’s tripod socket. Hanging upside down at your side rather than around your neck and available in two versions, one that goes over your shoulder and another that goes across your body like a typical R-strap, this is a special gift for your photo-junkie teen.
Hope these help you have the happiest of holidays!
We heard a rumor that gifts for dads can be a little tricky. We feel fortunate that there are two of us to brainstorm for some perfect gifts. You are lucky too, because we are sharing these gems of ideas with you. Here is our best gift guide for dads.
This is the perfect gift for any proud Papa. The microphone works easily with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras alike. This mean that whether he’s recording baby’s first steps or a graduation ceremony, Dad will have supersonic, crystal clear audio.
Superhero Mug Dad is everybody’s hero, but mornings might be his Kryptonite. Make sure your superhero is ready for his day with a mug that reminds him just how special you think he is.
R2D2 Trashcan Is there any other way to make a thankless chore this much fun? This one is a slam-dunk.
Pulse Dimmable LED Light with Wireless Bluetooth Speakers (Pair), Powered by JBL How crazy are these? You screw them into any can or track lighting, and you have awesome Bluetooth speakers plus a light show. By downloading an app, you control it all from your smartphone. You seriously have to check them out to appreciate just how cool they are. Photo Video Lighting Kit 3 Muslin Backdrop Background Stand And Lighting Kit Is Dad a budding photographer? Help him up his game with this awesome backdrop and lighting kit. Picture perfect Christmas card anyone? Well, maybe perfect is setting the bar a little high. but at least it will be nicely lit. Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan This book is hilarious and Ellen approved! Just make sure Dad knows you’re providing him with the gift of laughter and not a big ol’ hint (unless you want it to be a hint to lay off the cheese fries, that is). Star Wars Expressions of Vader Men’s T-Shirt While we’re talking humor, why not check out this shirt? Ellen’s girls gave it to Frank a couple of years ago and to this day, it’s one of his favorite gifts of all times. Can’t you tell from the expression on his face? Top row, middle Darth. Hog Wild Toys Air Strike Catapult Got a father who is a kid at heart? He’ll love this economical and super awesome catapult. Just warn the cat or dog to take cover.
Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer This is all kinds of fun. Use the app to connect this printer to any smartphone. Simply choose a photo and it will create a small, instant Instax print of the photo. Lots of people can connect to it at once which makes it great for parties and a winner for any tech-y, photo-loving dad.
Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe This guide is THE book for the Dad who still loves his comics. There are cool infographics on every page visually representing the kind of minutiae that feeds the soul of a true fan. One of our favorites is a timeline of How Long Characters Stayed Dead. Erin’s kids gave this to Steve last year and it lives on his bedside table and remains a true favorite.Bond 50: The Complete 23 Film Collection with Skyfall [Blu-ray] Unless this baby is already sitting in your permanent collection, it’s the perfect gift. Erin may or may not have this wrapped under the bed for the big day. Big Green Egg Mini Egg It’s no secret that boys love to barbecue. The Mac Daddy of grills is the Big Green Egg. This mini sized version is perfect for the man who loves to tailgate or camp. He can have his perfect burgers and take him with him too.Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband Nothing says “we love you” like a gift that helps Dad be his best, most healthy self. This Fit Bit tracks steps, calories, sleep, and helps keep your favorite guy on track so you can be celebrating Father’s Day with him for many years to come. WORX 5-Amp Electric JawSaw with Extension Handle Ellen gave this to her husband two years ago and it is one of the best investments she ever made. It is quick and easy to use (Ellen has no problem lifting or operating it, either). Part pruner, part chainsaw (but much safer) it cuts through branches up to four inches in diameter in seconds. The extension pole eliminates the need for a ladder much of the time. In a nutshell, this is worth the investment because of its ease and safety. Poleish Sports Standard Game Set Looking for some new summer fun? This game combines elements of virtually all outdoor games and lawn sports. Throwing, catching, strategy, teamwork, offense, and defense are part of every toss in game play. You really need to check it out. It may or ay not be on its way to Ellen’s house as we speak. SKLZ Gold Flex Strength and Tempo Trainer Does your man like his games more traditional? How about this golf trainer? Even the best can be improved, but don’t tell him we said that.
BlackRapid 35″ Shot Camera Strap Made from super-strong, orange nylon webbing, this camera strap attaches to the camera’s tripod socket. Hanging upside down at your side rather than around your neck and available in two versions, one that goes over your shoulder and another that goes across your body like a typical R-strap, this is a special gift for your photo-junkie papa. With this strap, he can make sure that he is camera-ready for all of the moments–big and small.
This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a small compensation from Amazon if you make a purchase using them. Thanks for shopping!
Of course, these gifts could also double for any teen guys or grads.
Everybody knows guys are hard to buy for. But that time is coming around the mountain again when you are going to need to just suck it up and find something sweet for your sweetie. In the spirit of true Sisterhood, here is a great Valentine’s Gift Guide for Guys with ideas that should appeal to your guy too.
Erin’s SIL gave these to Steve for Christmas and, quite frankly, She moved up the ranks a few notches with this thoughtful gift. We love them! Tell your favorite Star Wars fan that your love would be perfect even in a galaxy far, far, away with these.
Got an Amazon Prime membership? Well this is what you need to get the most out of it. For $39.00 you unlock a world of movies, TV shows, and music. Ellen’s family loves this little piece of magic more than chocolate.
You know we love to cook. We have the recipes to prove it. So trust us when we say the kitchen maestros in your life would love anything from this kitchen gadgets gift guide! Cooks love things that make tasks easier and faster; but if the gadgets are super cool too, we swoon. Get ready to break out the smelling salts if you put any of these gifts under the tree.
Behold! The Best Kitchen Gadgets
Jenaluca Stainless Steel Herb Scissors
We love fresh herbs, but chopping them can be such a pain! This gadget for under $20 makes mincing herbs so fun, you’ll be planting them in every square inch of soil you can find just so you can use them. And see that nifty little cover? It cleans the little clinging leaves out of the blades. But the best selling point? It is dishwasher safe!
Nutri Ninja Pro Blender
Want smoothies without the grit and lumps? This is the powerful little machine for you! Now some reviewers complain that it doesn’t pulverize blueberry seeds, but we’re not sure anything does that. But it does deliver the smoothest smoothies we’ve ever made right into a container that will fit in your cup holder. So awesome.
Black and Decker 3-Cup Ergo Chopper
If you are like Ellen, onions make you tear up worse than watching Titanic. Cry no more with this chopper that makes short work of dicing up those odoriferous bulbs of flavor. Works great with carrots, nuts, celery and garlic too. This handy gadget has big advantages: compact, easy to pull out of the cabinet, and EASY to clean in the dishwasher. It’s a great addition to any kitchen.
Chop 2 Pot Plus Folding Chopping Board
Sometimes it’s the little things in life. Cooking has never been easier when you can just use the board to funnel your chopped veggies into your pot or bowl. You’re probably starting to notice a trend, but this is also dishwasher safe.
All-Purpose Silicone Spoon Spatula
If you’re thinking a spatula is not a proper gift, you are wrong! This is a spatula, a spoon, and the absolute best tool to get the last smidgen of mayo out of the jar or that bit of cake batter out of the bowl. It is awesome and it is all one piece. That means no cracks or crevices in whcih liquid or bacteria can collect. And you guessed it, it’s dishwasher safe.
Funny Attitude Apron
Do you have a special someone in your life with a flair for cooking and a well-developed funny bone? This is the gift he or she deserves. It will start all kinds of fun conversations.
Star Wars Darth Vader Apron
All of the awesome of the previous apron with the added spice of a dash of geekery. May the Force (of the pancakes) be with you.
Easy Release Grease Separator
Speaking of geekery, Ellen’s love for this gadget is borderline embarrassing. She doesn’t make gravy often, but when she does, this little gem makes it ten times easier than it ever use to be. It’s worth the cabinet space, but it’s compact design makes it easy to squeeze in there. It strains and separates all in one, but here is the secret value: it is super fun to release the gravy essence with the spring loaded handle. Not as fun as a trip to Disney World, but you gotta grab joy wherever you can.
Swiss Rex Vegetable Peeler
Erin has peeled her share of potatoes in her lifetime, and this peeler is the best. Not the fanciest or most expensive, not ergonomic or spring-loaded, it’s just eternally sharp, easy to use, and sure to be your most favorite kitchen bargain ever. Slide this into a stocking this season.
OXO Good Grips Dough Blender with Blades
Unless you are one of the blessed few who has “the touch” like Erin’s grandmother, you are going to need one of these when you attempt a pie crust. This one has stainless steel blades and a comfy grip. It does its work super-quick too. A great addition to any baker’s pile of presents!
Tina Frey Ice Bucket – White
Gifts for the bar are welcome gifts to any home cook. This ice bucket has a retro chic that’s irresistible. A thing of beauty that will bring oohs and ahs on the big morning.
May these gift suggestions help you be the superstar this holiday season!