I’ve always been a bigger fan of “Reusing” than “Reducing” and “Recycling”. I’m not the only thriftstore bargin hunter and garage-salers at The Green Baby Guide, so I combed through the archives for the best posts on used baby gear.
Are you a dedicated thrift store bargin hunter and garage sale negotiator? Or do you prefer new gear for your baby?
Let’s face it: no kid wants to find raisins instead of candy in their Halloween loot. A toothbrush? Come on! Still, not all of us are comfortable with giving out a bunch of junk food to the neighborhood kids. Are there any kid-approved alternatives, candy or otherwise?
I always thought that packs of stickers were a good choice. There might not be a one-size-fits-all sticker, but you can stock up on choices that appeal to separate age groups and genders. Or just get scratch and sniff stickers, since who doesn’t like those? The bonus is that you can save leftovers for next year, like if you get rolls of Halloween stickers.
Crayons and mini activity books are another non-candy alternative. As a parent, I think these are a great choice! Not only are they sugar-free, but they last longer than a jaw-breaker. A handful of little toys is a similar option.
Annie’s Homegrown Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks Variety Pack (24 ct) are a sweet alternative to candy, and contain no artificial flavors, synthetic colors or preservatives.
This 5 Pound Bag YumEarth Organic Lollipops won’t break the bank and will last all night (contains 325 pops). Free of gluten, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial dyes, they are also allergen free AND kosher!
One option I was hoping to include is a fun-sized chocolate bar. I haven’t come across any chocolate choices that are reasonably priced and don’t contain artificial flavors, besides Lindt LINDOR Assorted Chocolate Truffles. I would love to hear your suggestions!
Do you still give out candy or have you switched to other treats for Halloween?
My favorite part of Halloween has always been making my own costume. Not only do you get to come up with a creative idea, but then you get to scour all the local thrift stores for the perfect materials! The ones you don’t find lurking in your own closet, that is. We’ve posted about DIY Halloween costumes every year, and here are some of the best posts!
I’m not planning too hard this year, since I could very well be in labor, or too big to move. But Franci’s grandma has taken charge of her costume and has been busy gathering materials and sewing accessories.
What DIY costume ideas have been your favorite over the years?
I have a confession to make: we do not have a Christmas tree. In fact, of the nine Christmases my husband and I have been together, we have not once gotten a tree. Every year there is a different reason not to get a tree (we’re moving, we’re going to be out of town, the decorations are in the storage unit across town and I’d rather be baking cookies, etc.).
In the back of my mind I’ve always thought that once we had kids we’d have a tree. Well, it’s baby’s first Christmas, and we didn’t get a tree!
This year’s excuse, besides being incredibly busy and not having a place to put a tree, is that we’re spending the night Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and they have a tree. In fact, Frances and I drove out into the woods to help them get the tree a week ago. All the presents are already under the tree at their house. So really, it would be duplicitous to have a tree at home too.
When the guilt sets in, I tell myself she’s too young to appreciate it any way. As if she doesn’t have an obsession over lights and wouldn’t stare at them for hours! The one year she can’t walk over to it and pull off all the ornaments, we don’t have a tree!
I think instead of being guilty, I’ll claim that it’s greener to skip the Christmas tree. There’s one more tree still growing in the local forest, or one less tree trucked in from Oregon. Next year, Franci, I promise we’ll have a tree. (Just don’t hold me to it!)
This is my holiday guilt confession, what’s yours? Not engaging in Elf on the Shelf? Not baking any cookies? Not buying everything on their list to Santa? Or maybe you’ve decided to skip the Santa charade all together? Dish!
If you want to bring a homemade treat as a hostess gift or to a party but don’t have time to make anything, try this recipe! By the time the oven was preheated they were assembled and ready to bake.
Rolo Pretzel Bites
This is another recipe that would have a bunch of great variations. Try cooked bacon instead of pecans or M&M’s! Use peppermint Kisses instead of rolos!
Most of us have seen the blog post, A Ten-Month-Old’s Letter To Santa and boy is it true! The tissue and ribbons and boxes are way more entertaining than any of the gifts at baby’s first Christmas. Despite my best efforts at a recent party, I looked away for one minute and found Frances with magenta lips and fingers from the tissue she thought looked tasty.
Some relatives are more respectful than others of adhering to the “one gift rule” or whatever request you’ve set for holiday gift giving. Babies are meant to be spoiled, right? But what happens when the toy chest is too full to close or you can’t make a trip to the bathroom without stepping on a toy or two?
We asked Franci’s grandparents for specific gifts and no extras! One cousin of mine has a good rule for her kids I plan to keep in mind: one toy in, one toy out. That is, if her son gets a new toy he has to give away or donate one he no longer plays with.
How do you deal with over-eager grandparents or a Santa that just can’t say no to those chubby cheeks?
Looking for a holiday treat that no one else will be bringing to the annual pot-luck? Fudge is a classic choice, but this spin will have everyone grinning over how “healthy” it is. There is no added sugar and it uses unsweetened chocolate, an antioxidant powerhouse. No one will know that it uses dates, unless you tell them. I’ll leave that decision up to you!
It definitely is a seasonal recipe, since you can only find Medjool dates this time of year. But you can get them just about anywhere, even Costco! Or if you are a Trader Joe’s fanatic like me, you can find all the ingredients (even the ghee) there.
Medjool Date Fudge
Adapted from Gluten Free on a Shoestring
I’ve made this recipe with ghee and coconut oil, and both are great. I bet it would be easy to adapt the recipe for butter, but I haven’t tried it. The coconut version would be great with nuts, if you’re into that. I’d like to try the recipe again, using rum extract instead of vanilla. Add a little nutmeg and it would be a perfect accompaniment to eggnog!
I started a tradition a few years ago to make gifts for my nieces each Christmas. I love to craft and sew and, since I can never get organized enough to make them birthday gifts as well, it’s my mission to send them Christmas gifts that I’ve made myself.
This year, the project was Fleece Owl Pillows. My mom and I found a pattern at Jo-Ann Fabrics months ago, and when I told her a few weeks ago I wanted to make them for my nieces she said. “I was going to make Frances one for Christmas!”. It was destiny. So yesterday we got together and busted them out. They are so cute I should have made one for my self!
Ever since I read Joy’s post about DIY Fabric Gift Bags, I’ve been using more and more fabric bags. So of course the owls are going in their own re-usable fabric gift bag. They are especially great for over-sized or oddly shaped gifts.
If sewing isn’t your thing, there are a million other craft ideas. If you’d like to make your own holiday crafts, get thee to Pinterest now!
Are you making your own holiday gifts this year? I’m always looking for good ideas so please share!