By now everyone knows I heavily rely on Amazon for a lot of my purchases. During the lockdowns of 2020 I’ve depended on it even more, so in advance I apologize for basically every single link coming from one single marketplace. At this time I do NOT qualify for “affiliate links”, collect no commission for my recommendations, etc. Even if I did, I would only share things I have personally used and genuinely enjoy, or sincerely think would benefit some of my readers. For now, my recommendations are backed by the fact that I purchased them with our own money, which may reassure you of the unfeigned nature of my reviews.
First of all, I did NOT actually purchase this through Amazon, but since the Molton Brown ( https://www.moltonbrown.com/store/index) website doesn’t embed nicely here on my blog, I’m using Amazon’s link to the product. I like getting the gift sets on sale during holidays, and I made my husband’s purchase on Black Friday during a big sale… I don’t pay full price for these items. The “Recharge Black Pepper” is probably his favorite so I got him a 10oz bottle.. not the set with the bar soap as pictured here. I also got him one of the “festive bauble” bodywash sets but the scents I got weren’t listed on Amazon for me to conveniently embed here for you however, keep scrolling:
This is a set that I got him for Father’s Day. Again, I’d purchased it earlier during some sort of sale. I encourage you to sign up to the Molton Brown email list or check frequently for sales. Like many high-end bath items, I’ve found that these are very potent soaps and a 10oz bottle actually lasts a shockingly long time. To the point that, on sale, the price becomes comparable to a lower-quality (and more garishly scented) drugstore wash that empties out like water.
Second-Born has been begging for these books of detailed search-and-find photos, and this is the year she gets one! My favorite planner company, Hobonichi ( https://www.1101.com/store/techo/en/) did a cover with work from this artist last year… tragically it seems to have sold out before I could get my hands on it.
We have the entire collection of these My First Little House books…. except this one that has inexplicably eluded us for YEARS. Finally Third-Born will be the one to receive it!
Schleich is the epitome of toy-horse design, in my opinion, while still being affordable and durable enough for play. I encourage you to explore their whole range of figurine toys ( https://www.amazon.com/stores/Schleich+USA/page/A1CB0246-C09B-44F8-BECD-91D60A99E21D?ref_=ast_bln) that includes dinosaurs, medieval and mystical creatures, all the way to regular animals! If you don’t want to purchase these through Amazon, I know our local Tractor Supply carries them (and at a better price!!), so see if you have one in your area. Second-Born will find this item in her stocking, but I have no doubt it will be a hot commodity with all three of them. I am planning on going to Tractor Supply to pick up more from the series and stocking stuffers because this toy on it’s own will start a war.
Papo is another brand we enjoy and is comparable in selection and price to Schleich! This one is for Third-Born.
This is for First-Born. Please don’t judge me. This child’s favorite section in the newspaper (after the comics of course!) is the obituaries, so why would you expect her gift requests to make sense? When we had cable, our favorite channel was TCM, and she was OBSESSED with this movie that I thankfully recorded. When we cut cable, all of our recordings were, of course, gone. So this will be a long-awaited reunion!
Another gift for First-Born! She doesn’t necessarily want to be a vet, but she loves animals (like most children) and loves learning about how things work, so this seems like a good blend of the two. The fact that it’s inevitably educational is a plus for her homeschooling mother. *wink wink*
Following the educational theme, one of my resolutions for the coming year is to buckle down on our language studies. Second-Born loved using the English-only version of this series when she was learning to read, so I suspect she will also enjoy a bilingual version.
More Spanish delights. This one is for Third-Born.
Second-Born acts (and with the shape of her eyes, even looks!) like a character out of a Studio Ghibli movie. She loves my photos of my early years in Japan, Japanese YouTubers and bento-box tutorials. So now she will have a bento box of her own. Even though we homeschool, this may motivate me to take the kids out on more picnics (I probably need to buy one for each of the others, too!), and I’ve also toyed with the idea of making our weekday lunches ahead of time in the hope that it disrupts our homeschool time less than our typical lunch breaks.
This is the big-ticket item for First-Born! I always wanted one of these myself when I was younger, so I really can’t wait to hear how she does with this!!
Here ends my list of actual Christmas gifts. As I mentioned earlier, I am planning on going to Tractor Supply for more Schleich figurines to even things out, and I need to get some fun seasonal candies for their stockings. We are relatively low-key with gifts, but it really adds up with three kids (and the fourth on the way!!)
What follows is a list of things that, while not purchased as gifts, are items that I recently got and have found helpful and think some of you may be interested in as well!
For our bilingual classroom (actually.. polyglot classroom… more on that later) these posters are an impressive addition. They are heavy-duty and very professional looking.
Pretty self-explanatory! Well made, and simple enough to read with the youngest one, while complex enough to help me with my own vocabulary!
I described our classroom as “polyglot” (knowing/using several languages) and now you know why…. but it gets even better so strap yourself in before you keep scrolling. English and Spanish use alphabets that are nearly identical. Russian has the additional challenge of learning a new alphabet from scratch. Just as the girls all did coloring pages when learning their native English alphabet, I am DELIGHTED to have found the equivalent in bilingual Russian-English. I’m sure they will pick up the Cyrillic alphabet easily this way, just as they did the English.
A more advanced picture-dictionary (I already have the Spanish version from this publisher). I will likely be the primary user for now. It really helps my retention having pictures with the vocabulary!
I’ve had the hardest time finding Cyrillic posters, but this one turned out great and is actually a sort of…. fabric? Not paper. I haven’t hung it up yet as I’d like to mount it in a poster frame first.
I told you I wasn’t done!! In all honesty, the girls are going to have little more than a fun, casual exposure to Japanese for now. Even though I was born and raised a few years there (and did pick up a few phrases when I was young), I’ve never truly spoken the language myself and I can’t take teaching it seriously. This is more for me to slowly explore, and share the occasional fun trivia with the girls. It’s easy to dismiss this type of “lesson” as completely frivolous, but speaking from MY OWN experience with language it is SHOCKING how much a person can pick up even with occasional tidbits of exposure. At the very least they will get basic exposure, and exercise their brains. I don’t expect to guide them to Japanese fluency, but maybe we can at least walk through the door together and have some fun!
I’ve been hunting around for clogs for a while but they were all more expensive than I was willing to pay. At $60 these were a surprising discovery and I’m glad to have them. They run a little big and I think are most designed to be worn with socks.
This tiny piece of minimalist jewelry was given to First-Born on her birthday. Its small design fits perfectly on a smaller body, and it has held up nicely.
This was another item from First-Born’s November birthday. It is a very delicate and minimalist design that looks wonderful on small fingers, not overpowering.
Second-Born got these for her birthday over the summer and they are a big hit especially when friends come over. I don’t know what it is about kids and enjoying the most complicated way to move from Point A to Point B…
Another present Second-Born recieved over the summer… nothing says “fun” like the real possibility of accidentally launching your face into the pavement. Be sure to get a pogo stick if teeth are optional in your lifestyle.
Another present useful for maiming, also received by Second-Born.
The best leggings you will ever own, at any price point. These happen to be about $10 a pair. Never have I encountered such a buttery soft, stretchy, AND opaque legging in my life. The selection boggles the mind, and they do have a limited selection in kids sizes. I’ve been happily growing my collection for a few years now. You can check out the Leggings Depot storefront to see all their options ( https://www.amazon.com/stores/Leggings+Depot/page/68B33F7C-13F9-42C6-A40F-7F42F29E123A?ref_=ast_bln)
My go-to tea strainers for individual portions. Comes in a pack of 2.
An excellent leash for small pets. We currently have it in two different sizes. Very easy to operate (for the human), and impossible to wriggle out of (for the cat… yes, we walk our cat)
I’m by no means an expert gardener, but I’ve found this book immensely helpful in giving me an idea of what should happen when.
Another useful book for the practical backyard gardener.
Fannypacks actually look cool when Herschel makes them. I have one in a rusty orange color. Hopefully I will get my hands on more!
I never thought there could possibly be anything to say about something as mundane as a “cell phone stand”… but this one is seriously heavy-duty and awesome! It’s hard to keep my husband from stealing mine away to the office!