Homemade Gifts

Last Minute Gifts – Day 12 of the 12 Days of Shopping

Last Minute Gifts (Because I’m So Together That I Have A Present Cabinet) and my gift is only homemade if you have a few pounds of butter in your house which I generally do…

Okay, it is a gross overstatement to say I have it together, but I do have a great Present Cabinet (there is also a Candy Cabinet but that is a different thing all together and for my personal consumption). How is it that someone who misplaces her keys, phone and often does not know the date is organized enough to pre-buy gifts for the unexpected but inevitable gift giving opportunity? Perhaps because I was scarred by an unequal gift exchange oh-so-many years ago and now have at the ready a gift for all occasions. Maybe I am a closet control freak. The possibilities are endless. While you speculate, here are some great gifts that you can throw together without looking like you threw it together in case you don’t even have time for a batch of cookies. Entirely possible, people!

Remember your wrapping station? No? Have one set up – paper, tissue, ribbon and scotch tape. You’re going to need it!

Each Includes: 3 boxes of Quinn Popcorn, Taza Chocolate Covered Almonds, 12oz Tipus Chai Tea Now

Don’t have a Present Cabinet? It’s okay, these are easy to find and put together ideas. Have some time – need it shipped? Check out the Because Movie Night Gift Box from Quinn Popcorn (my favorite popcorn and new shopping staple). Great pairing with the chocolate covered almonds and chai tea! Popcorn +Taza + Chai $34.99 –  Free Shipping On Orders Over $29. No chemicals! Here iis some info from their site…

Two years ago we set out to clean up microwave popcorn. Having just brought our first son, Quinn, home it was time to take this icon of adulterated food and transform it into something anyone can feel good about eating and sharing with friends and family. After a sleepless year our popcorn was finally ready for prime time!

First, we tackled the bag. Gone are the chemical coatings (PFOA, PFCs, Poly, etc.). We even pulled out the susceptor (gray metal/plastic patch). What’s left is a bag that’s made from paper and paper alone. Well, it is special paper that is pressed to make it grease proof. That wasn’t easy to figure out. Did we mention, it’s even compostable?

The ingredients got even more attention. We never use GMO ingredients or preservatives. The popcorn is organic. The expeller pressed oils are high in omega-3′s. Our ingredients all come together in 3 sweet, salty, unique, and delicious flavors. Plain and sim­ple, our mis­sion is to pro­vide you with the best bag of microwave pop­corn.

Family Movie Night

A box of Quinn popcorn (the vermont maple and sea salt is my personal fave)  and you can find it at  other local markets like Whole Foods and Shaws, and Wilson Farms.

Chocolate (your choice)

A movie  (Target has a great selection of DVDs starting at $5) and your local supermarket may have some holiday DVDs. It’s a Wonderful Life is always a good choice!

Switch out the movie and sub in a board game and you have a Family Game Night gift package.

Foodie Fun

Foodies in your midst? Measuring cups (again, cute ones at Target, Anthropologie, Sur La Table), a bowl, a wooden spoon and your favorite cookie recipe, add dry ingredients if you like! Roche Brothers Supermarket has a gorgeous Stonewall Kitchen section – great bowls and a Stonewall Kitchen mix with a pretty dishtowel. Yes, I do have most of these things in my house, no, do not call Hoarders.

Spices, really nice ones from Penzey’s or Sofra are wonderful gifts on their own.
I pick some up every time I go to Sofra (no, not really every time – that would be excessive).

In Boston? On Newbury Street? I found this gem of a store…Sabatino Tartuffi – gorgeous salts, sugar, honey, truffles and even a sweet skincare line. No, I did not buy out the store, there are some beautiful things left.

Still not the right gift? Really, a plant is lovely – try potted herbs (Trader Joe’s has a nice mix) adnd Whole Foods has a lovely lavender tree that Pragmatic Mom gave me last year and I let live for three entire weeks!

Since Pragmatic Mom often makes me look like I am standing still (unless I am overly caffeinated which does happen), see what she has in store as her homemade gift.



My Homemade Gift- fresh from The Boston Globe Magazine…


TIP Use a sieve to separate candy pieces from dust. Reserve dust for sprinkling on hot cocoa (or dipping the warm chocolate cookies in for added punch)

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 ounces candy canes

2 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (12 ounces)

In a small bowl, whisk flour and salt and set aside. Use a mixer to cream the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat to incorporate fully. Add the flour mixture and beat on low just to incorporate. Scrape dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, knead it once or twice, shape into a disk, wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 and up to 48 hours. We went for an hour and dough was a delight.

With the rack in the center position, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut a piece of parchment to fit a 17-by-13-inch baking sheet. Rest the dough at room temperature for 15 minutes, then dust with flour and roll into a rectangle just smaller than the sheet and about ⅜ inch thick. Transfer the parchment and dough to the sheet, prick lightly with a fork, and bake until light golden brown and puffed, about 22 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through.

Meanwhile, place candy in a zippered bag and use a heavy pan to crush it, then shake in a sieve to remove dust from small pieces (you should have about 1 cup).

Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and immediately sprinkle the chocolate over the hot cookie. Let soften for 4 to 5 minutes, then spread the chocolate evenly over the cookie. This was fun – especially if you wait – don’t rush this step.

Immediately sprinkle with the crushed candy, pressing gently to adhere. Cool until set, about 90 minutes, then cut and serve (or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week). Yeah, you won’t have any left.

The 12 Days of Shopping

Saturday, December 1:  Make Your Own Gifts with granola two ways. Hers and Mine.

Sunday, December 2:  Kids Make Gifts Craft, Clove Fruit and Crafts.

Monday, December 3: Personalized Gifts, Hers and Mine.

Tuesday, December 4:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

Wednesday, December 5:  Tutors/Teachers

Thursday, December 6:  High Tech/Low Tech

Friday, December 7:  Hostess/Doing Good

Saturday, December 8:  Sanitation Engineers, Mail CarriersHairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer

Sunday, December 9:  Husband, Me (Our Own  List), CapabilityMom’s List

Monday, December 10:  Cats/Dogs

Tuesday, December 11:  Quick Gifts from Whole Foods and Gourmet Food Store

Wednesday, December 12:  ’Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts, Homemade Ornament Crafts for Kids and Capability:Mom’s Homemade Gift

Back to Basics – Day 6 of the 12 Days of Shopping – Going Low Tech

It has been a long two weeks. I have been stashing catalogs where ever I could hide them before my husband throws them out. I wanted them for this series of posts and my own personal use… Hmmm…perhaps that explains the immediacy with which these are normally dispatched into the recycling bin.

Alphabet Pillow from Uncommon Goods on Capability Mom blog's 12 days of shopping
Alphabet Pillow from Uncommon Goods

My assignment, go low-tech (Pragmatic Mom has the high tech gifts covered). These are my favorite low, and I mean low, tech gifts (thus the old school catalog finds).

I love the Uncommon Goods catalog – super cute and cool gifts in a great range of prices. Anything from Periodic Table of Elements Blocks for your budding science genius to door mats made out of flip flops or lobster rope.

Arts and Letters:


Paper Source's Unravels Pencils

For all ages:  Art Supplies like paper and colored pencils or journal and nice pen, books, wooden toys (yes, for all ages).

Green Planet Kids is a Newton store with a great selection of back-to-basic toys and there are these oh-so cool stocking stuffers from Paper Source (love these peel-y pencils).

Back to Basics: Homemade treats, prettily packaged, with recipe attached, maybe some clove fruit from Pragmatic Mom, little handmade lavender sachets (you can buy lavender in bulk and fill fabric squares with it, so nice), special keepsake ornaments (we give my mom one every year) or a The Hanukah Candle Kit.

Love You More Pillow - Paper Source


Cozy Comforts:

Cashmere socks, scarves or sweater, mittens, a favorite team sweatshirt or baseball cap, yoga or fitness gear, fleece from Northface for that particular teen, a Snuggie (I caved and bought these last year!)


C is for Chocolate – always! Get some sweet Lindt truffles and put them in a pretty container. Last year I found a template on Martha Stewart’s site for turning a candy bar into a Santa.

Books are a basic and always welcome (even if you know only one book the child has liked, a good bookstore or librarian can give you many more suggestions).

If you are looking for year round reading for kids, I really like the publications from Cricket MagazineMuse for ages 9-14 years and Babybug, Ladybug, and  Cricket for younger children. I also love Stone Soup for the tween age, too.

Upcycled Pom Hat
Upcycled Pom Hat - Uncommon Goods

The 12 Days of Shopping

I will be posting The 12 Days of Shopping jointly with Capability:Mom. Please visit her blog to see the other half of each post.

Dec 1: Make Your Own Gifts GRANOLA, Amazing Granola from Nigella Lawson versus Amazing Granola Bars from The Barefoot Contessa

 Dec 2: Kids Make Gifts CRAFT (ModPodge versus Clove Fruit)

 Dec 3: Personalized Gifts (Fancy Address Stampers versus Pretty Papers Giveaway)

 Dec 4:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

 Dec 5Tutors/Teachers

 Dec 6High Tech/Low Tech

 Dec 7Hostess/Doing Good and Getting Something

 Dec 8: Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer, etc. (a.k.a. who else did I forget?)

 Dec 9: Husband, Me (Our Own Wacko List)Capability:Mom Husband/Wife

 Dec 10:  Dog/Cat

 Dec 11: Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

 Dec 12: ‘Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts:  Cookies Personalized Holiday Tags

12 Days of Shopping – Kids Make the Gifts – Crafts on Day 2

I really do love homemade gifts the most – especially from my children. I have every gift they ever gave me and now I understand why my mom kept that macaroni necklace I made for her (thanks, Mom). I also love the messiness of Mod Podge and the only reason there isn’t more of it in my house is because I tend to go on sprees…yes, there have been Mod Podge sprees.  One weekend my oldest and I reclaimed a table (then proceeded to Mod Podge the inside of an old medicine cabinet). No, I am not suggesting you do a table for a gift. Just showing that you can.  We used a calendar with gorgeous prints that I picked up in the Anthropologie sale bin last year. This year’s version is shown below from Paper Source (love this store, too!). Don’t be silly, I spent under $10 not $20. Paper Source also has a great sale section, too.

capability mom roskd mod podge

Gather any paper you that like – wrapping or old books or cards. Tip: I like to put them in a folder in the basement so my very tidy spouse doesn’t mistakenly throw them away (invariably I forget where I put them, though so it’s the same as if they had been thrown out). So on to the craft! Here is a site I have mentioned before, Mod Podge Rocks. It has tons of great projects and this is one is particularly easy and fun!

Just using an old Altoids tin or small box you can make a gift card holder – make the gift cards, too! Plain cards and stickers are sweet. The finished project shown is from Mod Podge Rocks.

Here are the raw materials capability mom uses mod podge to make holiday fiftsthat I pulled out of the craft drawer (oh-so-different than the present drawer!). You can also put a handle on the tin and style it as an adorable mini-purse.

If you aren’t excited about this project, here is an easy Mod Podge Pencil Holder from Family Eduction –  you can fill it with baked goods, Lindt truffles, candy canes or candy kisses for a teacher or hostess gift. All you really need is an empty can, Mod Podge and some paper. Now don’t get all Martha and perfect about it. Break out the Mod Podge and go. Plain glass vases, cans, bottles, jars …everything is fair game. You can decorate the container with your children then fill with flowers (made out of the sweet paper or real) or baked goods that you make together.

I personally like to see tree shaped styrofoam either painted or Mod Podged or plain with Hershey candy kisses all over, probably because my mom has them every year.  Education.com makes it a counting activity for little ones and uses a glue gun to make their tree. Wow, was that what my mother was doing, too? No, I am pretty sure we just randomly stuck most of the kisses on the tree (which is all good, too). Speaking of education moms – head on over to Pragmatic Mom – her craft is adorable and super easy and not messy at all –  Clove Fruit which I like to do even after the children become tired of it. Put down some paper (newspaper is fine) and when they are finished wrap them in tissue (this is a good gift to start now).

capability mom finds a counting activity project from education.com

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