Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Association, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and helps support this blog (a small business!!). You can learn more about my participation in this program here.
Food allergies are tough to manage on your average day, let alone on holidays or during social events. And while this year holidays look a bit safer for those not having guests coming to celebrate (see the incident with my mother's lip gloss for all you need to know on this subject), even those who are celebrating with immediate family should still be concerned about things like season treats(which may be manufactured differently than the usual products), and potential for allergens in nonfood gifts (like lotions or cosmetics).
Whatever your holidays look like this year, here are some tips to help keep your family safe!
Read the labels, every time!
Even if you have used a product for years, manufacturing practices can change at any time. This is especially true for seasonal specialty products (think those Christmas versions of favorite candies). If you are concerned about cross contact or an allergen not in the top 8, be sure to contact the company directly! There is no legal obligation to list for these in ingredients. Furthermore, cosmetics and lotions may be held to a different standard than food.
If you are getting together with guests outside your household, volunteer to do the cooking, or host.
Even with clear communication, mistakes can happen. Ensure foods are safe by doing the cooking, bringing your own food to a celebration, or (best yet, if you are insistent on getting together with others), hosting. Hosting ensures that you are in control of procedures to limit cross contact (CC) in prep areas. You can also bring your own plates, utensils, or plan to use disposable products to further limit issues with CC.
Clearly communicate your comfort level with anyone you are gathering with; never assume others understand cross contact concerns!
Not comfortable with shared lines or facilities? Communicate this in clear language. Make sure to express concerns with cosmetics or body products that could transfer and cause a reaction as well.
Make sure anyone involved with caretaking has a clear understanding of the patient's allergy action plan.
Better yet, bring a copy as a reference as well as having clear discussions with all appropriate parties! Never leave your child in the care of anyone who does not fully understand the steps to follow in the event of a reaction.
Make sure cosmetics/body products are safe, not just food!
Food isn't the only thing that contains allergens. Many cosmetics and lotions contain nut and seed oils. Never assume a product is safe because you can't eat it!
Finally, always carry 2 epipens, and when in doubt, it is always better to epi than leave the reaction to chance*!
Always follow your individual action plan and listen to your doctor's recommendations first and foremost! Guides like this are great, but your practitioner will know the best steps to keep you or your child safe.
Looking for tips on Top 9 free holiday candy? We love YumEarth!!! Their products (other than candy corn, which is only available around Halloween) are free from Top 9, and their manufacturing facilities are free of Top 9 as well. Best yet? They are delicious!
Be sure to share this to help keep other food allergy patients safe this holiday season!
And be sure to check out Food Allergy Research and Education's webpage to learn more about food allergies. Or check out my food allergy portal for even more about managing food allergies, including recipes, other blog posts, great lists, product recommendations, and more!
I don’t need to tell you that 2020 has been a difficult year. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are just as ready to end the unpredictable chaos and monotony of social distancing as I am. I also won’t pretend we are all in the same boat in this storm. While my boat has been turbulent, we aren’t taking on water. I know many have not been so lucky.
So this holiday, I've made the decision to recenter, and focus on the gratitude and joy, instead of self pity.
I should offer the disclaimer that I wrote this piece from where I have existed during this challenging year, and I acknowledge that is a place of privilege. I know it is not everyone's story, and while I hope this will not happen, some may even feel I am out of touch. I also live in a community of immense privilege, and for those of us for whom the year has been shaky but not catastrophic, I think a healthy dose of reality and gratitude is exactly what we need this holiday season. That is why I wrote this piece. If your year has been like mine, one of discomfort and inconvenience, but not tragedy, I hope you will join me in being grateful this holiday season.
You can read my entire post for Westchester County Mom here.
You can also find inspiration for new holiday traditions to help make this challenging holiday more special here.
Or, check out my entire Christmas Guide for great crafts, activities, printables, gift guides, and more!
If this spoke to you, be sure to share the mindfulness!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. Commissions earned help support this blog, and my participation in the program comes at no added cost to you. Want to learn more? Click here.
If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love DIY decor projects! So this Christmas, I had lots of fun putting together several projects that are perfect for the entire winter season. If there were any year where cheery decor were necessary all year, it would be this one, right? Check out these gorgeous farmhouse designs, plus tips for recreating the looks!
Dining Room Table Centerpiece
Using the same off white recycled jars from this project (see the Thanksgiving jars), I was able to create a beautiful centerpiece! I traded out the autumn foliage for faux pine branches, pinecones, and berries, and used a gold metal tray as a base. I then wrapped twinkle lights (with leaves attached) around the vases, and placed the battery pack in the center vase (beneath the greenery). The finishing touch was the addition of a few pinecones on the tray. I paired the centerpiece with a table runner, plus white and gold candles.
Farmhouse Style Wreaths
These wreaths are super basic and easy to make; just purchase a faux pine wreath and use a hot glue gun to add a few pinecones and a burlap ribbon (the ribbons I used had gold thread intertwined). Because there is no red, no ornaments, and no other holiday related additions, I'll be able to keep these wreaths up all winter!
Birdcage 'Potpourri' Light
I loved the birdcage decor I used for the fall so much that I repurposed the item for winter! I wrapped evergreen garland (which had bells attached) and twinkle lights around the cage, and then filled it with some scented pinecones. This farmhouse style DIY piece is a huge upgrade from your grandmother's potpourri dish, and made for a festive addition to my foyer.
Products You'll Love
Want to try one of these great projects? Here are some products you may love!
Love this? Be sure to share!
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. You can learn more about my participation in this program here.
With 4 stars or higher, these toys for kids of all ages are sure to impress!
~5 Stars with over 900 reviews!
~5 Stars with over 1400 reviews!
4.7 Stars with over 300 reviews!
4.6 Stars with over 1500 reviews!
4.6 Stars with over 93,000 reviews!
4.4 Stars with over 95 reviews.
4.1 Stars with over 270 reviews.
4.9 Stars with over 75 reviews.
4.6 Stars with over 290 reviews!
4.7 Stars with over 5700 reviews!
4.7 Stars with over 3400 reviews.
4.8 Stars with over 950 reviews.
4.6 Stars with over 1,000 reviews and 4.7 Stars with over 850 reviews for the ready for school dolls, and 4.5 with over 120 for thefinger paint doll.
4.6 Stars with over 5800 reviews.
4.8 Stars with over 840 reviews!
4.7 Stars with over 750 reviews!
More Gifts by Age!
Get even more gift ideas for kids!
And see my Holiday 2020 Gift Guide for gifts for the whole family!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. You can learn more about my participation in this program here. All commissions earned help support this blog!
Based on my husband's favorite purchases (and all highly rated products on Amazon) here are the gifts the guys on your list will love!
This list has great ideas for any occasion: Christmas, Father's Day, birthdays, or any other celebration!
Everyday Waterproof Boots
My Pick: Rockport Men's Rugged Bucks Waterproof Boot
My husband's favorite pair of casual boots are these fantastic Rockports! They are just stylish enough to pair with somewhat nicer clothing (not that we are really going out right now), while casual enough to wear every day. He also says they are super comfortable! And with 4.5 stars and well over 1K reviews, I'm confident these boots will be perfect for the man in your life, too!
A Funny Graphic Tee
My Pick: Now I Am Unstoppable Funny T-Rex T-Shirt
If your husband loves funny graphic tees as much as mine, he is sure to love this one! My husband was quite excited to find this one, and while I don't quite understand his enthusiasm for silly tees, I do love seeing him happy!
For the Lawn Enthusiast
My Pick: Remington RM25C 25cc 2-Cycle 16-Inch Curved Shaft Gas String Trimmer, Orange
We normally do our shopping at the local hardware store for things like this, but when our last weed wacker broke after just a year, my husband went searching for a better one. He has been very happy with this gas powered Reminington, and is enthusiastically sharing about how well it works to any neighbor who will listen. If the guy in your life takes as much pride in his lawn as my husband does in ours, this gift is a must have!
For the Football Enthusiast Who Loves His Vehicle
My Pick: FANMATS NFL Unisex-Adult NFL Truck Emblem, 2-Pack
My husband got a new truck this year, and as a football fan, wanted to show pride in his team. These vehicle emblems are easy to apply and look great! Fear not, Patriots haters; they come in a variety of other team versions, too! If you are looking for a great stocking stuffer for the sports fan in your life, look no further!
For the Gadget and Beer Lover
My Picks: Xthel Titanium Keychain Beer Bottle Opener with Stainless Steel Key Rings and ALBATROSS 6-in-1 Modern Damascus Steel Folding Pocket Knife
As a restauranteur, my husband is constantly in need of a bottle opener on the go (it is all about customer service!). He is also that guy who has a million gadgets on his key ring or in his pocket. He is loving this key ring, and with 4.5 stars and over 600 reviews, your guy will, too. If your guy isn't into beer, what about the perfect pocket knife? My husband has found a million uses for his, and with the bright LED light, he has stopped buying tons of mini flashlights! These also make perfect stocking stuffers!
For Your Favorite Fisherman
My Picks: Okuma Classic Pro GLT & Rods, OKUMA FISHING TACKLE ABF55b Avenger ABF B Series Baitfeeder Reels, and Berkley Trilene Big Game Monofilament Fishing Line
My husband took his first salmon fishing trip this year, and needed a suitable rod (his rods are for surf/ocean/shore fishing, and not for salmon fishing... whatever that means!). If the guy in your life goes salmon fishing, or fishes for larger fish fly fishing style, check out these highly rated recommendations! The fishing line is even an Amazon #1 Best Seller! My husband had a lot of great things to say about these products, so they are bound to impress!
For the Busy Coffee Fan
My Pick: YETI Rambler 30 oz Tumbler, Stainless Steel, Vacuum Insulated with MagSlider Lid
If your family is like mine, you are always on the go, and always fueling up with a hot beverage. If that is the case, you can't do better than a YETI tumbler! My husband uses his to make coffee before work almost daily (yes, he is going to work in person; yes, his industry is deemed "essential" in our area). This cup is HUGE, and super sturdy. And, if your guy loves being outdoors, YETI is the go to brand for all things high quality active lifestyle!
For the Outdoor Enthusiast: Anything YETI!
There is a reason people love YETI. Their products are high quality and durable, plus well designed for your active lifestyle. Their products are on my family's Christmas list regularly. From camping, to sailing, to hiking, and more, YETI has you covered! You can check out their entire holiday guide HERE.
When He is Insisting on Investing in a Fish Tank
My Pick: BioCube LED Tanks and Combo Kits
My husband has had a number of fish tanks over the years. I hate them with a passion, and celebrated when he got rid of his last one. They are hard to maintain, have a ton of pieces, and we even had on spring a leak on us. Ugh. So when he wanted to get another fish tank, I was hesitant. But he sold me on this one! The Biocube tank is self contained, unlike traditional tanks, and easier to maintain. The lighting system is also pretty impressive! If you are looking for a compromise like we were, this tank is it! I don't hate it (like our old tanks), and it makes my husband really, really happy. Score!
And Finally, for the Hard Worker Who Deserves to Relax
My Pick:The Perfect Hammock
I won't lie.... my husband and I both love this one! We got ours this spring, and my husband relaxes in it nearly every day (no matter how cold outside). It is sturdy, comfortable, and massive. The perfect gift to tell the guy in your life you appreciate all his hard work, and that he deserves some time to relax.
What would you add to this list? Comment below to share!
And if you love this, be sure to Pin it!
Looking for even more gifting inspiration? Check out even more gift guides!
Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. Commissions earned help support this blog. You can learn more here.
Get your holiday shopping out of the way with great gifts for the entire family! This post contains links to all my gift guides, as well as my Must Have Products page. More content will be added throughout the holiday season, so check back regularly! As always, many of the products I recommend are ones we use in our own home, and love (if there is a product we haven't used, I always make selections based on overall product rating, brand, and a review of the product's details).
The Gift Guide Roundup!
1. 10 Great Toddler Toys - Toys my child loves, and your's will, too!
2.Stocking Stuffers (and small gifts) for Toddlers and Preschoolers - This post contains both Christmas and Hanukkah gifts and books!
3. 3 Types of Bath Toys Your Toddler Will Love - These bath toys make for amazing gifts for your toddler, or an addition to a baby registry.
4. Great Nonfiction Reads for Dog Parents - Get the dog lover in your life a book they will love! These are some of my favorite nonfiction books about dogs (mostly...).
5. Fishing Themed Toys and Books - Does your child love the ocean? Is your family big into fishing? These ocean and fish themed books and toys make for great additions!
6. Gifts for Her - Great gifts for the woman in your life. Home spa and self care products, clothing, accessories, and much more!
7. Gifts for Him - These gifts are sure to impress, and with top ratings (and an enthusiastic recommendation from my husband), you will have no problem finding the perfect gift for the guy in your life!
8. Top Rated Gifts for Kids - These 4+ Star gifts (almost all are 4.5 and higher) for kids of all ages are sure to impress!
9. Holiday Deals on Amazon - Find the latest deals on Amazon here!
Nothing on this list striking your interest? Check out my Must Have Products page for tons of recommendations for craft materials, organizational items, decor, books, toys, and much more!
And be sure to check back regularly for more additions to this list! Coming soon: Budget Gifts, The Best Gifts for Book Lovers, and more!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no additional cost to you, and helps support this blog. You can learn more here.
Whether you are shopping for a Christmas or Hanukkah gift, or just looking for something to say "I care" to a loved one, this list has items sure to make her smile! Here are some of my favorite products, plus a few that look promising (and are based on products I already own)!!!
Home Spa Essentials
One of my favorite ways to destress has been to turn ordinary activities into luxurious ones! These products are the perfect way to elevate self care.
Disclaimer: I do promotional work for Zentyme. The opinions are entirely my own!
I love making shower time special, especially since it is sometimes some of the only self care I get during the day. These essential oil shower steamers certainly have helped! If the woman you are shopping for is a busy mom like me, this is a perfect gift to help her unwind!
Disclaimer: I have done promotional work for Zentyme. The opinions are entirely my own!
This Zentyme bath pillow is ergonomic, and super plush! Getting this for the woman in your life says "take some time just for you!". This pillow is so comfortable, I have considered replacing my regular pillows with this one (I'm only half kidding)!
Anything from The Savannah Bee Company!
If you have been following me for awhile, you know my extended family lives in Savannah, and the Savannah Bee Company is a stop every time we visit. Luckily, Amazon has started carrying their amazing products. You may wonder, why not Burt's Bees? 1. I like Savannah Bee Company products much better, and 2. Savannah Bee Company is a smaller company than Burt's Bees. I absolutely love every product I've tried from this store, and I know the person you are shopping for will, too. Here are just a few of their amazing products!
One of my favorite self care routines is a nice cup of tea in the evening, and Mighty Leaf is by far my favorite brand. This Ginger Twist tea is soothing and delicious. Plus, the box lasts for what seems like forever! And that means plenty to share with family or guests!
Essie, by far, is my favorite nail polish brand. And Angora Cardi, the color seen below, is one of my favorite colors. The perfect all year round pink, it is just bright enough for summer and just muted enough for fall and winter. And if you don't believe me, take it from social media! Angora Cardi has even been the most popular color on Pinterest, at least according to this Glamor Magazine piece (they also show how the color looks on multiple skin tones.... it works for everyone). It is a perfect stocking stuffer for the women in your life. Pair it with essie's All in One base, top, and strengther for a full manicure at home, with only two products! (Trust me, it is the perfect time saver for busy moms like me!)
Great Wardrobe Staples
I bought this top in September, and it has quickly become one of my favorites! It is comfortable, perfectly oversized (get true size, or perhaps go up one size if you have any concerns), and stylish. It also comes in several different colors. I've always been reluctant to shop for clothing online, but once I started, I found it to be a great way to find new pieces for my wardrobe without the hassle of going to the store!
Another favorite piece, I bought this dress in September as well. My first statement to my husband was "I want this in every color". It is beautiful and very, very comfortable. Plus, it has pockets! It runs on the big size, so get true size, or maybe one size smaller.
Okay, so I did too much shopping online this fall! I got this dress recently as well, and it is beautiful and stylish. I can't wait for COVID to be over so I can wear it on my date nights, or to parties! It also has pockets, which is always an amazing addition.
I'm a huge Kate Spade fan, and only just found out Amazon carries some of their products! While we all carry cell phones now, there is something really special about a classic analogue watch. This one will go with almost any outfit, and is sure to make the woman you are shopping for smile!
Kate Spade Bangles
I have a bunch of Kate Spade bangles, and love them. So when I found some online, I knew I had to share them with readers! They come in three colors, and are super trendy. These will make for perfect stocking stuffers, or a regular gift. They pair perfectly with both casual and dress clothes, too.
For the Kitchen
While kitchenware is not the right gift for everyone, I know I love receiving it! My family is big into cooking (how could we not be with a husband who was a chef for so many years), and these are some of our favorite kitchen products/appliances.
This mortar and pestle is gorgeous and super heavy. It makes for a functional decorations; we use it for grinding sesame seeds for OIT, but it could be used for any herb or spice for both cooking or creating cocktails.
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Sterilizer, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker, and Warmer, 6 Quart, 14 One-Touch Programs
My Instant Pot is a weeknight meal lifesaver. I use it constantly, and can't recommend it enough. If the person you are shopping for hasn't jumped on the Instant Pot wagon yet, this is a must purchase! This is the model I have, and I absolutely love it.
The Amazon Holiday Gift Guide is recommending a newer model of the Instant Pot that does way more than mine does. I wish this version was available when I got mine, because it has an unbelievable number of great functions. From replacing your old slow cooker to serving as an air frier and dehydrator, this Instant Pot will replace a ton of other small kitchen appliances.
Given my child has food allergies, we do a ton of baking. And baking has become so much easier with our Kitchen Aid stand mixer. There is a reason these are so popular; they are just that good. While this is a pricier gift, it is one that is absolutely worth it!
Another trendy kitchen item that is worth the splurge. Le Creuset cookware is amazing for a number of things, and we use our dutch oven regularly!
For the Busy Mom
Shopping for someone who is always on the go? These gifts are perfect!
We love our Yeti tumbler. It is oversized (so plenty of room for lots of caffeine), and heavy duty (so, perfect for a toddler mom!).
purlisse BB Tinted Moisturizer Cream SPF 30 - BB Cream for All Skin Types - Smooths Skin Texture, Evens Skin Tone - 1.4 Ounce
If the woman you are shopping for complains about never having time for makeup, but still loves makeup, this BB cream is the perfect fit. It is high coverage and provides substantial moisture, without causing my skin to breakout. It is, by far, my favorite BB cream ever!
Making running quick errands or going to the gym even simpler with this beautiful Kate Spade keychain wallet! Just big enough for all the essentials, while small enough to carry along with car keys!
I love my Kate Spade wallet, and this one is similar to the one I carry. This wallet makes for a perfect, higher end gift.
Candles are super popular in our home, and Amazon happens to have a number of great options. Here are two ultra popular brands that make for perfect gifts!
I love crafting, and these products have made it that much easier (and in turn, more fun!). These are perfect for the crafty person in your life!
These acrylic paint pens are perfect for fine details on glass, canvas, rocks, wood, or any other base. They are easy to use and come in a variety of great colors.
Coloring is one of my favorite relaxation/mindfulness activities. There is something soothing about creating a masterpiece from a white piece of paper with lines. One of my favorite tools for coloring are colored pencils. And these aren't your kids' Colored Pencil Set! They come in a variety of beautiful colors, from metallics, to bolds, muted tones, and more. Purchase with an adult coloring book for a relaxing activity for whoever you are gifting to.
Gel pens also work great for coloring projects! If you are looking for a brand recommendation, Arteza products are ones I've tested, owned, and love!
Admittedly I don't own a cricut... yet. But I've been sold on how great they are, and added this one to my Christmas list (you might just be seeing some projects from me next year using it!). This #1 best seller has an astounding 5 star rating with over 11,000 reviews. You read that right! Perfect for DIY projects of all kinds, the crafty mama (or teacher, or auntie, or anyone) in your life is sure to love this as a gift!
Gifts for the Rest of the Family
Be sure to check out all my great gifting ideas!
Or, head straight for my Holiday 2020 Gift Guide post for links to all of these guides, and more!
Love this? Be sure to share!
The winter holidays will be here before you know it, and if you are like me, you sometimes need a bit of inspiration to come up with great stocking stuffers for children who are a bit young for small trinkets (many small toys contain choking hazards for toddlers!). I remember googling, trying to find great lists of creative gift ideas for my toddler. This year, I am sharing my little one's favorite small toys, perfect for stocking stuffers or Hanukkah presents (if you do smaller gifts each evening), as well as ideas from friends, family, and based on high ratings!
You'll surely be able to find something your toddler will love on this list!
Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and helps support this blog. You can read more about my participation in this program here.
From Our Home
We have another Eric Carle puzzle set by this same brand, and my little one loves it! I wasn't able to find the version we have, but these are quite similar!
These bath toys make tubby time fun and educational! My child absolutely loves the letters and numbers, and I found that Munchkin makes an animal shape version, too!
This puzzle has been a staple in my home for months. It is a great educational toy, and like all Melissa and Doug products, is of great quality.
This monkey is soft and adorable! One of my toddler's favorite stuffed toys, I'm sure your little one will love it as much as mine does!
Daniel Tiger is a TV favorite in our home, and this trolley keeps my child busy long after the TV is off. It has a pull back and go feature that your toddler is sure to love.
Want even more awesome Daniel Tiger characters? We also have O the Owl, though not any of the other friends. Here are some other sets:
Some Favorite Toddler Board Books from Our Home
My little one is a bookworm, so I'd have to do multiple posts to share his entire library. But here are a few great options my little one loves, and yours will, too!
Loved by Friends, Family, and My Classroom
These are toys and books I love, but that we don't have at our home. My friends' children and my students have loved them, and your children are sure to love them, too!
Highly Rated Toys on Amazon
The options above just not quite right? Here are some other great stocking stuffers that come from great brands and are highly rated on Amazon. I've found that bath toys are one of the best stocking stuffer options, and most are water play safe!
Highly Rated Holiday Board Books* on Amazon
*Mostly! There are a few that aren't board books, but looked too good not to share.
Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko
Okay, so this one isn't a board book, but it looked too good not to share!
Be sure to share this with anyone shopping for a toddler this holiday season!
May 2020 (Prior to 5/31)
Find more recipes, product recommendations, activities, and more!
View my author page for Westchester County Mom here.
Disclaimer: Content on this website is meant for informational and educational purposes. Nothing found on The Mindfully Scientific Mama constitutes medical or psychological advice. Always consult a profession in the respect field for advice specific to your situation. Read more about this site's terms and conditions here.