Showing posts with label gift ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gift ideas. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

June 20th Father's Day! So Many Ways to Show Dad Some Love

Father's Day is coming up soon and it's a great time to show your Dad some extra love!

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Image by designerlisahenry from Pixabay

Somehow finding something for Dad is a lot harder than finding something for Mom!  Why is that?

The best place to start with gifts ideas for dad's is to really check out what he is doing in his spare time.  When the work day is done, does Dad just like to sit with a cup of coffee quietly, or a beer out in the yard?  These are great places to see what kind of mug or glass he is using for his favorite beverage.   A new Coffee mug with a cute saying on it is always a good start!
  



Beer or wine glasses can also have a customized saying on them too!  Just last year our daughter got one for her father's 70th birthday and it was a real hit for a gift that he wasn't expecting!  Just imagine this for Father's Day instead!




One of my all time favorite things to get for the men in my life is anything made by Victorinox, The Swiss Army Knives makers!  Every man needs to have one of these in his pocket!  There will always be a loose screw, a cap to open, or a nail to clip.  These pocket knives are the handiest and most portable items ever made.  There are many imposters, but only one Swiss Army Knife!  Actually, there are many different styles and they can range in price according to how many different blades are within.  

Does Dad like to read?  There are many new books that have just been released, that I'm sure your Dad would love.

Horror, mysteries, historical novels, Books about different Sports!  Is Dad a traveller (even just an armchair traveler), then get him a beautiful book about one of his favorite places to go one day!  It could be Bali, California, The Congo, Australia or even somewhere closer to home!  There are places to go and things to see as the world seems to be opening up again.  It's also possible to stay in your own country and see what there is to see right here!  Make plans to see all 50 States, the best time to go and what there is in each state that shouldn't be missed!  Travelling virtually before setting out is a great way to share something different with Dad.

If none of these things float your boat, so to speak, there is always something that you can do that doesn't cost anything at all.  One of Review This Reviews writers, Barbara Tremblay Cipak, has come up with 10 ideas that don't cost a thing!  You can read all about it right here!

One thing is sure, in these days, it's nice to remember those people that are special to us!  So whether that is your Dad, Step-Dad, Stand-In Dad, your Grandpa or someone who you admire like a Father, Let Him KNOW!

We only have one chance every year to make a day special for all the dads in the world, so let's not waste time!  

June 20th is the Day, so mark it on your calendar!  

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!  May your day be filled with lots of love from your family to you!

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Sunday, May 30, 2021

10 Free Personal Gift Ideas to Honor Dad


These days, the thought counts more and more.

If you're looking for ways to celebrate dad that involve a personal touch, check out these suggestions.

1. Framed Handprint Art

Have the kids, whether little or big, create a collage of their handprints. If the kids are all grown up, do it anyway, it still makes a beautiful, personal gift. In fact, for adult kids create a collage of everyone's feet - how funny would that be, lol - then frame it. 

2. Create a Collage of Personal Love Messages for Dad

Have the kids write out what they love about dad, glue the messages to a board, frame it, or have it laminated. Keep dad's personal messages from family, from every special occasion in a scrapbook or album. It doesn't matter if you haven't started this tradition in the early years; start it today.

3. Spend Time with Dad

Spend the day with dad, watch movies, go for walks, or play games. Show interest in the things he loves. Or just sit and talk to dad. When our parents are gone, we wish for one more day to be with them. Treat this special day as if it were a magic wish you've been granted.

Have you ever heard "One More Day" by Diamond Rio - Listen to the lyrics; they say it best; they're a moving reminder of why we should spend time with those we love while we can. Don't take dad for granted; he won't always be there. If you're reading this via mobile, here's the link to the song.

4. Cook Dad's Favorite Meal

This is a standard in our home for birthdays and other celebrations. The person of the day gets to pick the menu. We spend time together having dinner as a family.

5. Go on a Hike Together

Plan an all-day outing with dad. Take him on a hike. Spend the day outdoors and treat him to conversation and physical activity. 

6. Assemble His Family History in a Book

Research dad's family history and present dad with a book that highlights his ancestors and the entire family all the way up to the current time. Dad will love this gift; it's one he can hand back and pass along to grandchildren.

7. Plan a Family Soccer or Baseball Game

Organize a day at the local baseball or soccer field and spend the entire day playing sports, laughing, and eating. Pack a picnic and make it a full day of outdoor fun.

8. Clean Dads Car and Garage

If dad rarely has time to do those weekend cleaning tasks, do it for him. Have him sit outside with his favorite beverage, in a comfortable chair, with his favorite music blasting, watching you all work as you clean up the garage and wash his car.

9. Create a YouTube Video Music Playlist

Create a YouTube video playlist featuring all of Dad's favorite songs. Make the list public, and write a beautiful personal message in the video description area for all the world to see. You can also create a list of songs that honor dad from a daughter's point of view. You can find a list of ten suggested father/daughter songs here. Here's are songs to honor father/son relationships.

10. Write a Poem or Create a Video Poem

If creating video poems isn't your thing, simply write a poem from everyone or just from you and frame it. 

Here's a video poem I wrote long ago for my husband on the passing of his father: If you're viewing this via mobile, the video is here on YouTube.


Enjoy your day with dad. Time with dad is truly the best gift for you and for him.

For My Dad In Heaven: "Last night I had a crazy dream, a wish was granted just for me, it could be for anything, I didn't ask for money or a mansion in Malibu, I simply wished for one more day with you, but then again, I know what it would do, leave me wishing still, for one more day with you" (Lyrics - One More Day by Diamond Rio). 

Dad, I'll love you 'til the end of time, and time never ends.




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Thursday, April 15, 2021

How to Etch Copper - DIY Review

 


Have you ever found yourself admiring a gorgeous piece of etched copper jewelry?  I know I have.  A few months back I decided I wanted to learn how to create my own custom copper gifts.  As a maker, I crave opportunities to pursue new avenues of artistic expression.  

After exploring various techniques for etching copper, I chose to try a method that appeared to be one of the very best for beginners.  Having just experienced a successful first experiment, I wanted to share the process for the benefit of other aspiring copper artisans.  Here's a list of the supplies you will need:

  1. Small sheet of copper (or copper blank).
  2. Ferric chloride (I used Radio Shack PCB Etchant Solution).
  3. Rubber stamp (a link to the bee stamp featured here).
  4. Ink pad (I prefer the StazOn Solvent Ink Pad).
  5. Black permanent marker.
  6. Clear shipping tape.
  7. Two small plastic containers.
  8. Water.
  9. Baking soda.
  10. Chemical-resistant gloves.
  11. Eye protection.
  12. Brillo pad.
  13. Fine steel wool.

Step One
: Prep the copper.  It must be clear of fingerprints, tarnish, etc., to make a good etching.  I used fine steel wool to clean up my copper blank.  You will want to wear gloves during this step (to ensure you don't leave prints on the surface of the metal).



Step Two
: Select your design and transfer it to the copper (either freehand using a fine permanent marker, or with the use of a rubber stamp).  Allow adequate time for the ink to fully dry.

Step Three: Using a permanent marker, completely ink over the back of the copper blank (and the side edges).  Anything that is not protected with an ink resist will etch.  Once the ink has dried, overlay it with clear packing tape.  Then, tape a piece of styrofoam to the back side of the copper ( to help it float and to provide you with a handle for safely lifting the copper out of the etching acid).



Step Four
: In a well ventilated area (outdoors is best), pour an inch or so of the ferric chloride solution into a shallow plastic container (wearing chemical protective gloves and eye protection).  Carefully set your copper (design side down) on the surface of the etching solution.  You want it to float on the surface.

Step Five: Depending on how pronounced you want your etched design to be, you will leave the copper in the etchant solution for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.  Gently stir the solution every 15 minutes.  I went the full hour for my etching and was really pleased with the result.


Step Six
: In a clean plastic container, mix warm water with two tablespoons of baking soda (I used about a cup and a half of water).  Wearing protective gear, carefully remove the copper from the acid solution and gently set it into the water bath.  It will start bubbling as the acid is neutralized by the baking soda.  This step takes less than five minutes.



Step Seven
: Remove the copper from the soda bath and rinse with clean water.  When dry remove the packing tape from the back side.



Step Eight
: Using a Brillo pad, rub off the ink residue on both sides of the copper.  

Step Nine: Use fine steel wool to brighten up the copper and reduce minor scratches.

Step Ten: You may wish to apply an optional patina to the copper and/or a protective seal coat to keep the copper from tarnishing.  Some copper artisans like the darker antique look achieved using liver of sulphur.  


As you can see, with the right supplies and just a few hours of effort, it is fairly easy to produce a very satisfying result.  I am pleased with this copper etching method and will most definitely take it to the next level with a more advanced project.

If this has stirred an urge to create something unique, you may be interested in my article about painting on copper with fire.  No matter what you decide to do, the important thing is to find your own outlet for creative expression.  There is so much beauty just waiting to be released into the universe.  Let the beauty of who you are be what you release into the world.






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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Hallmark Gifts for Mom

FUN AND AFFORDABLE HALLMARK GIFT IDEAS FOR MOM

Discover five fun, fabulous and affordable gift ideas for mom on Mother's Day or any day of the year!

No doubt your Mom raised as Hallmark says, "Good, kind kids who are a great gift to the world." Who better then to offer up a special gift idea for your Mom than Hallmark, whether it be for Mother's Day or on any day of the year? 

On this page you will find gathered together six wonderful Hallmark gift ideas including the Blooming Expressions flowers; the Mom and Me Recordable Conversations To Keep book; a shadow box picture frame; the There is No One Like Mom CD; the movie Soldier Love Story; and, a fun Mom-themed coffee mug series.

I am sure that you will find something here that is within your budget and perfect for your Mom.

BLOOMING EXPRESSIONS FLOWERS



Hallmark's Blooming Expressions flowers will bloom every year for mom!


There are an assortment of Hallmark Blooming Expressions flowers available, including pink and red rose versions. Each vase features a variety of expressions like, "I Love You" and "You Are the Heart of Our Family." I like the idea that this item is an everlasting gift that mom can use to decorate her table, dresser or desk. They will bloom for mom forever!  Find your Blooming Expressions flower on Amazon by clicking right here.


Hallmark Mom and Me Conversations to Keep Recordable Storybook records Mom and her little one talking.

MOM AND ME CONVERSATIONS TO KEEP RECORDABLE STORY BOOK


Some of the most beloved gifts given to Moms are those that are personal in one way or another. A Hallmark Mom and Me recordable book fits that bill very nicely. With a Mom and Me recordable storybook, a young Mom records the voices of herself and her children having an informal and fun chat.

The book provides fun, open-ended questions like, "If you and your mom had a super power, what would it be?" and "What do you want to be when you grow up?" With this special memory book, mom records their thoughts NOW so that she will have them as a treasured keepsake when they are grown up. I sure wish that I had done something similar when my boys were young.

A Hallmark's Mom and Me Recordable Storybook is the perfect gift idea for any mother with young children. You can find the Hallmark Mom and Me Recordable storybooks on eBay by clicking right here


SHADOW BOX PICTURE FRAMES


This Hallmark Shadow Box is filled with treasures from Treasures By Brenda on eBay but your mom can of course personalize it with her own momentos!

With Hallmark's personalized shadow boxes, you can frame pictures of your family along with small mementoes and quotes. Whether you choose to do the decorating or you leave it up to mom, there are a variety of frames available. See the Hallmark Shadow Box frames on eBay by clicking right here.

MUSIC CD FOR MOMS

Hallmark's lovely music CD for mom features music by assorted artists.

Hallmark's There Is No One Like Mom CD features music by various artists including Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Elton John, Diana Ross and Sting and is an appropriate and affordable gift for moms everywhere. Find it on eBay by clicking here.

SOLDIER LOVE STORY


Faith and Family's Soldier Love Story launched the 2009 Countdown to Mother's Day on the Hallmark Channel, thus feeding the confusion as to whether or not it is a Hallmark movie.

In Soldier Love Story, a ten-year old boy named Jared's life fell apart when his parents divorced. His Dad seems to put his job ahead of him and his mother makes him move in with his Grandma in California so that his mom can take a job there. When the boy's classroom writes letters to U.S. troops who are posted in Afghanistan, a sergeant named Vince who himself had no father takes a shine to the boy and corresponds with him in a fatherly manner. When Vince returns from Afghanistan, he is warmly welcomed and becomes a boyfriend to the boy's mother, with the understanding that there can be no commitment because he will likely be sent back to Afghanistan.

Soldier Love Story was originally called Meet My Mom. It is a lovely story and would make a wonderful Mother's Day gift for any Mom who loves Hallmark movies and in particular for any Mom with a connection to the Armed Forces. It is a hugely popular Hallmark movie with viewers praising it because it combines a bit of romance and family with a lot of respect for soldiers.

Please note that this is not actually a Hallmark movie. Rather, it is a made-for-tv movie that first aired as the lead movie for the Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Mother's Day in 2009. That's good enough for me. It is still a great movie choice for mom. Find  Soldier Love Story on Amazon by clicking right here.

KEN SHELDON MUGS FOR MOM

This is one of a series of Hallmark mugs featuring Ken Sheldon and a mom theme.

Of course, there's nothing quite like a mug for Mom, especially if she loves her cup of tea or coffee. If she does, she will appreciate using a mug every single day that you chose with her in mind. I enjoy the sentiments on these Ken Sheldon mugs, of which there is a series that includes various pieces, not just coffee mugs, and pieces for dad, too. Find all of Hallmark's Ken Sheldon items on eBay by clicking right here.

What will you be giving your mom for Mother’s Day this year?

See you 
next time!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

More Gift Ideas for Moms:



Vintage Taylor and Ng Coffee Mugs

A Clowder of Black Cat Coffee Mugs

Note from Author: This page previously published in part elsewhere.




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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Fun & Fab Book Accessories and Gift Ideas

A page full of fun and fabulous book accessories and gift ideas for friends, family and yourself!

If you love books, you will love the fun and fabulous book-themed gift ideas and accessories that I have catalogued for you here on this Review This blog page. If not exactly what you are looking for, they are sure to be a great jumping off point for a gift idea for yourself or for a friend or family member who just cannot take their nose out of a book. All of these book-themed gifts are from Etsy, many of them are available in a variety of materials and patterns and some of them can be personalized with your or your loved one's name or initials. 

HOLDER

Wooden book holder frees your other hand to handle a mug or glass or whatever needs handling!

If you love to read while enjoying your favorite beverage, you will love this little wooden tool. It is designed to help you hold the pages of your book open with one hand thus freeing up the other to hold a mug of your favorite hot and steamy beverage. 

Reader Dickenson said, “I decided to finally read all the big books on my shelf, and my thumbs have been suffering. This thing is amazing! I will probably be buying ten of these as Christmas gifts later this year.” I think that is a brilliant review and I know exactly what it is like to try to keep the pages of a big, trade paperback book open! 

This device is simple and practical and small and affordable. It is something you probably have never heard of  before but once you have seen it you will surely appreciate it. You will find this little wooden book holder from Engaged Book on Etsy by clicking right here.

COFFEE MUG & SWEATSHIRT


It’s a good day to read a book coffee mug!

Did someone mention a steamy hot beverage? Now that one of your hands has been freed up by the book holder, you need a mug for the other hand!  Book lovers will want to consider this coffee mug that will make you smile. It reads “It’s a Good Day to Read a Book.” If you are a big reader, you know that rule applies to every day and you will therefore want to use this mug every day, too! 

Fun bookt-themed t-shirt reads "It's a Good Day to Read a Book."

Sets make wonderful gift ideas. Why not make it a matched set? The "It's a Good Day to Read a Book" slogan is also available on a t-shirt or a sweatshirt. 

Reader Inbelding says, "I collect literary shirts and this one is my new favorite!" You will find the coffee mug, the tee and more book-themed items from The Harper House on Etsy by clicking here

It is definitely worth noting that The Harper House has many other book themed tees and sweatshirts with fun slogans like "Bookish", "Bookmarks are for Quitters", "One More Chapter", "Books and Coffee and more Books", "One More Chapter" and "It's Not Hoarding if its Books.

METAL BOOKMARK


Metal Bookmark Personalized with Your Name!

This bookmark is so pretty! I love the uniqueness of this personalized calligraphic bookmark with the little heart and a bead. Instead of a name or a word like mom or dad, Charlene also fashions bookmarks with other items on the top like a jigsaw puzzle piece, a bird or a wine glass. 

Reader Janet says, "I think so highly of Charlene! Her artistry and creativity has helped me make so many people extremely happy!"  

You can find these unique bookmarks on Etsy from kraze4paper by clicking right here.

SPOON BOOKMARK


Upcycled vintage hand-stamped bookmarks share a love of books and reading!

How about a hand-stamped bookmark? The text on these vintage spoons makes me smile and can be customized to whatever you want to say. I really like “Drink Tea. Read Books. Be Happy” because that fits me to a tea, pun intended. However, I will admit that “Fell asleep here” would be really appropriate, too. 

Reader Ziehr says, "This is the third spoon book marker that I have ordered. It fits snuggly on my book and it does not move around. It's a great personalized gift for any reader.

Find these fun vintage spoon bookmarks on Etsy from Stamped Frosting by clicking right here.

BIRD BOOKENDS


Attractive metal bird bookends will make you smile!

Bookends, anyone? If you enjoy displaying your books, a pair of bookends can be found to suit any interest. I love these bird-themed bookends and think they’d do a great job organizing the stacks of cookbook in a kitchen exactly as they appear in this photograph. 

Reader Fulkerson says, "These bookends look so cute poking out the sides of my open shelving.

Find them from Max Foundry on Etsy by clicking here.

TRAVEL BOOKENDS


A pair of travel themed bookends for the armchair traveller's books!

Those, like me, who are armchair travelers will love these vintage globe-themed bookends though because they are vintage, they are one-of-a-kind find. Once they are sold, they will be gone and you will have to look further afield to find a set that appeals to you. You will find these globe bookmarks on Etsy from Marchpuces by clicking here

You can also check out all of the vintage globe bookends on Etsy by clicking here.

UPCYCLED BOOKENDS


These upcycled bookends are sure to please any dog lover!

How about some dog-themed bookends? These ones are perfect for a dog lover. They are upcycled bricks painted by the artist in a variety of themes including this dog one.

Reader Bilhartz says that they are “Even nicer in person than I expected!! You’d think painted bricks are just painted bricks, but no! These are really well done. You can tell there is artistic talent, attention to detail, an eye for attractive color combos, and that very high quality, thick and vivid paint was used!” What a great review! What more can I say? 

You can check out these and a pair of cat-themed bookends from Brickends on Etsy by clicking right here.

PADDED BOOK SLEEVE


Pretty Watercolor Wildflowers padded book sleeve will help keep your book safe when you are on the go!

I will admit that when we travel, I put my book into a plastic bag to give it some protection in the car or in my carry-on bag. I never thought that there might be a more attractive way to carry my book around while at the same time offering it some protection. Enter this beautiful padded book sleeve. 

Reader Saelua says, "Beautiful fabric and well made! I got the largest size so I’d be ready to carry any book I need. Right now I’m able to fit one medium sized book and one small in it at the same time. Looking forward to using this for a long long time." 

Annette offers a few fun patterns that currently include this pretty Watercolor Wildflowers. You are sure to find one that best suits you or your recipient's interests. 

You will find them on Etsy from Fred 'N Polly by clicking here.

--------------------------------------------
 
Well, there you have it. A page full of fun and fabulous book accessories and interesting gift ideas. You will find all of them gathered together on my Etsy Favorites page. Just click here and then follow the Book Accessories tab.  Is there something here for you or the book lover in your life?

See you
At the bookstore!
Brenda


 
For those who love their books, here's a page full of book accessories and gift ideas.




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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

Keto and other low carb diets are increasingly popular, as the health benefits become better understood and more widely known. As someone who has lost a significant amount of weight (nearly 60 pounds) on a ketogenic diet and kept the weight off by maintaining a healthy, low-carb lifestyle, I'm reviewing my favorite gift ideas for anyone on your list who is trying to watch their carbohydrate intakes, or has plans to start a low carb or keto diet in the near future (perhaps once upcoming holidays, events, special occasions, or other celebrations—such as their, or your, birthday, graduation, anniversary, engagement party, wedding, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Valentine's Day, etc.). 

This special occasion or holiday gift guide is filled with thoughtful presents for any occasion that will support the health, wellbeing, and weight loss goals of the people you care about. There's no time like the present to give someone—including yourself—the gift of good health!

Main image: glitter background with text "The Best Gifts for someone on a Low Carb or Keto Diet"
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved.

Gift Ideas for Keto Diet or Low Carb Newbies

  • A book that explains and helps them succeed on a keto diet by a respected and knowledgeable author. Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on The Ketogenic Diet, including Simplified Science and No-cook Meal Plans by Maria Emmerich and Suzanne Ryan's books Simply Keto and Beyond Simply Keto are all excellent choices.
  • A reliable, accurate and reliable digital food scale to help them weigh and track their calories, carbs, and other macros. I recommend looking for one that has a convenient tare function (which zeroes out the weight of a plate, bowl, cup, or other container before adding the food to be weighed), weighs in pounds, ounces, kilograms, and grams, registers additions accurately in very small increments, has a large, easy-to-read display, a smooth, easy-to-clean surface, and is made by a company that stands behind its products. I highly recommend the Nicewell 22 Lb. Digital Kitchen Scale. It meets all the aforementioned criteria, has a smooth, wipe-clean, durable stainless steel and tempered glass surface, and has a wide measurement range of 0.1 ounce/2–3 grams to 22 pounds/10 kg, added in 0.1 ounce/1 gram increments. Mine also has been much more reliable than the two previous digital food scales I've owned (from well known brands), and the flat surface lets me weigh food on a large plate or in a large bowl, without taking up a lot of valuable kitchen counter space. At less than $37 (as of this writing), its high accuracy and excellent features compared to cheaper models make it a very good value.
  • A selection of low-glycemic, keto-friendly sweeteners. Since each person's palate, digestive system, and metabolism are different, figuring out which types of keto-friendly sweeteners taste best to them, which ones cause them to experience an unpleasant aftertaste or noticeable cooling effect, which ones cause them gastrointestinal distress, and which ones elevate their blood sugar or knock them out of ketosis. Some people are much more sensitive than others to certain types of sweeteners. So, for someone who is just starting out, especially if they have a sweet tooth, a range of different types of granulated, powdered, and brown sugar replacements would likely be a welcome gift. 
  • One of the best articles to help you understand the differences and which keto sweeteners are best for specific uses is Carolyn Ketchum's "The Ultimate Guide to Keto Sweeteners" on her All Day I Dream About Food website. My favorite sweetener by far is BochaSweet "The Supreme Sugar Replacement," which tastes virtually identical to cane sugar, has no aftertaste, and comes in both granulated and powdered (confectioner's sugar) forms. It's also more expensive than other keto-friendly sweeteners, so it's a luxury a keto newbie might not splurge on to buy for themselves. 
  • An accurate and reliable digital body weight scale to help them track their weight loss progress. Our house is old and has settled, so the wood floors aren't perfectly level. As a result, I never had a scale that reliably displayed the same weight reading five minutes apart, until I bought myself the Etekcity High Precision Digital Body Weight Bathroom Scale with Ultra Wide Platform and Easy-to-Read Backlit LCD. In addition to its accuracy, I also love the big, easy-to-read, backlit digital display and the extra-wide, rock-steady platform (since my balance isn't that great when my feet are too close together). It measures within a weight range of 18–440 pounds (8–200 kg) in increments of 0.2 lb. /0.1 kg. Best of all, it costs less than $30!
  • A journal where they can track their progress against their goals in whatever way is most helpful to them—tracking food, exercise, sleep, water intake, body measurements, blood pressure, mood, how their clothes fit, how they're feeling, etc. Many food and exercise journals track just 90 days, and have limited (or no) flexibility in what you can track and in what format. I suggest choosing one like Eat Better, Feel Better, Live Better: A 52-Week Food Journal, which will allow your gift recipient track the things they care about most for an entire year. Even though I've used the Carb Manager app since the day I switched to a low carb keto lifestyle, I would have really benefited from also using a journal like this one where I could track more than just numbers.

Fun Gifts for Low Carb and Keto Enthusiasts

If your you're shopping for someone who is loving their low carb lifestyle, they're sure to love any of these.

Gifts for Someone Who Loves Cooking or Baking

Learning to cook without grains, rice, potatoes, or other starchy vegetables takes effort. Learning to make sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free baked goods has an even steeper learning curve! Companies are coming out with more—and better tasting—low carb and keto foods and ingredients all the time. 

In addition to the excellent digital food scale I mentioned previously, there are other types of kitchen tools and equipment I find myself using since adopting a healthier, low carb approach to eating.

Here are some gift ideas that would be welcome in any low carb kitchen.
  • A couple of really good, reliable low carb or keto cookbooks. Some that I can recommend highly are Carolyn Ketchum's cookbooks, especially The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking (my low carb baking bible), and The Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen, filled with foolproof, seriously yummy recipes to suit a wide variety of tastes; Maya Krampf's The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook (simple, delicious recipes with no more than 10 ingredients); Southern Keto: 100+ Traditional Food Favorites for a Low-Carb Lifestyle by Natasha Newton for anyone who loves Southern food; and all of Maria Emmerich's cookbooks, especially Keto Restaurant Favorites and Keto Comfort Foods. If your gift recipient has or will be getting an air fryer or an Instant Pot, Maria also has written low carb cookbooks for using both those popular kitchen appliances.
  • A vegetable spiralizer for making zoodles (zucchini noodles) and cucumber spirals. If your gift recipient is eating low carb but not following a strict keto diet, butternut squash noodles and carrot spirals can also be enjoyed in moderation, and add important nutrients including antioxidants, carotenoids, and Vitamin A, among others. 
  • A mini waffle iron for making chaffles. Chaffles are individual size, high-protein, low carb mini waffles, made from beaten egg, shredded mozzarella or other cheese, almond flour, and other ingredients, depending on the flavor. They're a favorite staple for many who follow a keto or low carb diet. There are myriad chaffle recipes, both sweet and savory. Chaffles are great topped with butter and sugar free syrup for breakfast, and can be used as a bread alternative for sandwiches, as a base for individual pizzas, or as a dessert, topped with keto-friendly ice cream, syrup, and/or whipped cream. They're quick and easy to make. They also freeze well and can be popped into a toaster or toaster oven for a grab-and-go meal or snack.

    Last year, about six months into my keto diet journey, I put the popular, very inexpensive DASH Mini Waffle Maker on my Christmas wish list, so I could see what all the chaffle buzz was about. It makes perfectly fine chaffles, and would be a great stocking stuffer. However, if you can afford a higher-end chaffle maker for your gift recipient, I would definitely recommend choosing one like the Cuisinart WAF-300 Belgian Waffle Maker with Pancake Plates, which can make as many as four (and as few as one) chaffles (or Belgian waffles, for household members who aren't watching their carbohydrate intake), and has an attractive, brushed stainless steel top cover; removable, dishwasher-safe, nonstick waffle plates (as well as a pancake plate that makes four perfectly round pancakes); lights that indicate when the unit has finished preheating and when the chaffles, waffles, or pancakes are done; and an audible alert beep. Although it has a large footprint, this waffle maker can be stored upright to save space, and comes with a set of tongs, a recipe book (for non-keto household members), and a 3-year limited warranty. I would love to receive this terrific piece of equipment as a gift for my keto kitchen (hint, hint)!
  • A selection of sugar free syrups made with a low glycemic sweetener, such as monkfruit, allulose, erythritol, and/or stevia. I love ChocZero syrups and have bought them in nearly every flavor they make (the current selection sold depends on the season). They're high in dietary fiber, low in net carbs, and extremely versatile. I use them often as toppings for low-carb pancakes, waffles, or chaffles. (I think ChocZero makes the best-tasting, low glycemic maple, maple pecan, and vanilla maple syrup on the market. Some people prefer the Lakanto maple flavored syrup, which is thinner and has a stronger maple flavor that I don't care for. To each his or her own!) ChocZero's line of syrups are also great for pouring over keto ice cream (Enlightened's yummy Keto Collection flavors are my favorites), and I love using these syrups for flavoring tea, coffee, hot chocolate, etc. They don't dissolve readily in cold liquids, so for cold drinks, I just dissolve a tablespoon or two of ChocZero syrup in two or three tablespoons of microwaved hot water, let it cool for a few minutes, and then stir the diluted syrup into it to my cold drink, along with a bunch of ice cubes. I also love Sukrin Gold syrup, which  has a taste and consistency surprisingly similar to honey, and is also sugar free and high in fiber.

    Make sure to tell your gift recipient to wipe the opening (and the surrounding area) of the ChocZero or Sukrin Gold syrup bottle with a hot, damp dishcloth right after they use the syrup. Otherwise, any residue in or around the opening will harden, and can make the lid/cap difficult to open next time. Also explain that these syrups should stored at room temperature, not in the refrigerator.

Low Carb and Keto Treats, Snacks, and Baked Goods

For many people, one of the hardest things about switching to a very low carb diet is having to give up their favorite starchy, salty, high carbohydrate snacks and baked goods, like pretzels, potato chips, cheese puffs, taco chips, crackers, and breads, rolls, and hot dog, hamburger, or sandwich buns, as well as sweet treats like candy, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, and muffins. 

Although a very or moderately strict keto diet can help reduce or eliminate a person's addictive cravings for sugar, carbohydrates, and highly processed foods with little nutritional value, many of us who choose to follow a ketogenic diet for more than a few months find that including small to moderate amounts of healthier, low carb alternatives to the foods we used to crave makes this way of eating much more sustainable over the long term. So, unless your recipient follows a very strict keto diet (or plans to), they probably would be delighted to receive a gift of keto and low carb treats from you.

Here are some delicious edible gift ideas.
  • Pork rinds. These light, crunchy snacks are a great keto friendly alternative to starchy potato chips. Crushed pork rinds are also a terrific substitute for bread crumbs!
  • Cheese crisps - you can make these yourself by placing squares of sliced Parmesan, muenster, Fontal, or other good "melting cheeses" two inches apart on a large nonstick griddle, heating them until they melt, spread out, and get bubbly, and letting them cool, or you can buy ready-to-each cheese crisps in single-serving bags. The two commercial brands of cheese crisps I've tried are Whisps and HighKey Keto Cheese Crunch, which are both good, but much more expensive than making them yourself.
  • Moon Cheese crunchy keto puffed cheese snacks - the high protein, low carb answer to Cheez Doodles and Utz Cheese Balls. They make five flavors: Cheddar, Gouda, Pepper Jack, Bacon Cheddar, and Garlic Parmesan. If you don't know your gift recipient's favorite type of cheese, there are also 5-pack and 10-pack variety assortments that include all five flavors.
  • Low carb crackers - it's hard to find ones that don't taste like cardboard, but the Fat Snax Almond Flour Crackers get excellent reviews, and there is a variety pack option that includes all three flavors: Cheddar, Sea Salt, and Everything (seasoned similarly to an "everything" bagel). They're also expensive (currently $14.99 for a bag of three on Amazon). 
  • Sugar free chocolate candy and chips sweetened with keto-friendly sweeteners. If your favorite "recovering carboholic" is also a chocoholic, they would surely be thrilled to unwrap a few of these delicious, low carb treats. Some of my personal favorites include HighKey's milk chocolate pecan caramel clusters (they taste exactly like the iconic turtle candies) and dark chocolate almond caramel clusters (absolutely incredible!); ChocZero's Keto Bark in a wide assortment of seasonal and year-round flavors; their peanut butter cups in white, milk, and dark chocolate, and their no sugar added dark, milk, and (my favorite) white chocolate chips; Good Dee's dark chocolate chips; and Lily's stevia-sweetened chocolate bars (especially the 70% cacao bars, like their sea salt extra dark chocolate bar). 
  • Keto cookies. I'm absolutely crazy for HighKey mini cookies, so much that I keep multiple bags of every flavor they make (so far—they keep adding new ones!) in my pantry, including their crisp mini almond and chocolate chip biscotti. Each serving of 5 to 8 cookies (depending on the flavor) has 3–5 grams of protein, 9–14 grams of fat, 1–3 grams of dietary fiber, and only 1–3 net carbs and 110–150 calories, They've also just come out with larger, individually wrapped coconut macaroons and cocoa coconut macaroons, which have just 1 net carb and 90 calories each, plus 1 gram of protein, 7–8 grams of fat, and 5 grams of dietary fiber, and are chewy, filling, and absolutely scrumptious. 
  • Sugar-free, grain-free baking mixes for making great-tasting, quick and easy keto treats with wholesome, high quality ingredients. There are so many wonderful mixes on the market, it's hard to choose just a few to include in this gift guide. In recent months, I've share my reviews of some of my favorite low carb and keto cupcake and muffin baking mixes and several flavors of Good Dee's low carb cookie mixes here on Review This Reviews. Good Dee's coconut snack cake mix absolutely delicious. In fact, I decided to use it as the cake layer for my birthday cake this year, which I split, filled, and iced with cream cheese frosting, topped with toasted unsweetened coconut and fresh raspberries. My husband, who also loves baked goods but doesn't follow a low carb diet, liked it so much that he asked me to make the same cake for his birthday the following month! If your gift recipient is more interested in savory baked goods, one of the key ingredients in my keto cheddar cheese and chive biscuits recipe is HighKey's excellent buttermilk biscuit mix. Livlo also has a very good biscuit mix. 

Gift Baskets

Arranging several related items to create an attractive composition inside a tissue paper-lined basket, wrapping it in a large sheet of cellophane, and tying it with a big bow is a simple way to create an impressive gift. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Keto Pasta Party Basket

For someone who loves pasta, having to give up delicious, starchy, comfort food favorites like spaghetti and linguine on a ketogenic diet can be a difficult sacrifice. Imagine their surprise when they open your gift basket and see four bags of delicious, nutritionally dense, low carb, Gnooda keto pasta, a couple of large jars of Yo Mama's Original Marinara Sauce (no added sugar and just 4 net carbs per 1/2-cup serving), a wedge of good, imported Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, and a festive red Microplane fine cheese grater so they can grate fine shreds of salty, cheesy goodness over the plates or bowls of warm pasta! To make it extra special, you could line the basket with a classic red and white checkered tablecloth, reminiscent of a typical Italian trattoria, wrap bright red, white, or green cloth napkins around the marinara sauce jars, imported cheese, and cheese grater, and add a couple of red, green, or white pillar candles, jar candles, votives, or tapers to help your gift recipient create the right ambiance for their pasta party, even (or, perhaps, especially if they're dining solo).  

Gnooda keto pasta is made from nutrient-dense lupin flour and fresh eggs, using age-old Italian pasta making techniques. A one-cup serving of cooked Gnooda pasta contains a whopping 22 grams of protein, 15 grams of fiber, 7 grams of fat, and only 3g of net carbs and 165 calories. As of this writing it is only available in the radiatore shape, and can only be purchased in four-bag increments directly from the company's website, Gnooda.com. Also, Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce is a good alternative if you can't get Yo Mama's Original Marinara Sauce.

Fit and Fabulous Basket

Fill a gift basket with things to support their fitness goals, and tailor the contents to their favorite form of exercise. For example:
  • For someone who enjoys playing tennis, your basket might include a new can of tennis balls, a new sun visor or sweatband, a few pairs of breathable, low cut, cushioned athletic socks, a high SPF, broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen (see my review of EltaMD® and Colorescience® mineral-based physical sunscreens), and some packets of low carb, sugar free, powdered electrolyte drink mix. 
  • For someone who doesn't have the time to get to the gym on a regular basis or travels a lot, you could fill a large gift basket with a nice-looking, breathable, lightweight T-shirt and leggings, a digital fitness tracker, and a canister of low carb, sugar free, powdered electrolyte drink mix (my favorite is Key Nutrients' Cherry-Pom Electrolyte Recovery Plus Replenishment Drink). Depending on how much you want to spent, you could also include a gift card to Amazon, Dick's Sporting Goods, or another sports equipment store for them to pick out a piece of at-home or on-the-road workout equipment, such as a medicine ball, a set of dumbbells or free weights, or a set of resistance bands they can use both at home and on the road.
  • For someone who hates to exercise but loves to dance, put together a "it's my (dance) party" basket, featuring a jazzy, comfortable, lightweight T-shirt with a matching or coordinating leggings or yoga pants and sweatband (the crazier and more fun and festive, the better), and a fun, upbeat, easy-to-follow dance workout, like Body Groove's Delicious Dance DVD Collection, Dance Your Heart Out DVD Collection, or Young at Heart DVD

Relax and Unwind Basket

Most people associate certain foods with comfort, and when we're feeling extremely anxious, stressed, upset, sad, hurt, or overwhelmed, many of us have the urge to soothe those feelings with familiar and, often, unhealthy "comfort foods." Unfortunately, giving into the impulse to "eat our emotions" can be self-sabotaging for someone who is trying to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle, and after the short-lived immediate gratification, they usually feel even worse after consuming a pint of ice cream or a bowl of macaroni and cheese. So, if someone who is following a low carb diet (or has any other type of dietary restrictions) is going through a rough patch, one of the ways you can support them might be to give them something other than food that can help them escape their troubles and help them feel better (even if it's only a temporary reprieve) without sabotaging their health and wellness goals. Here are some gift ideas to include in a customized "relax and unwind" basket: herbal teas; a mug with a personalized saying or image that has a special meaning for the recipient; traditional or flameless LED wax candles (preferably with one of the person's favorite scents); music to help them relax or lift their spirits; a soft, cozy robe, sweater, or throw; a guided meditation recording or DVD; an electric heated neck, shoulder, or back massager.

One of my favorite herbal teas is the lovely, floral Republic of Tea Organic Elderflower and Green Rooibos Super Herb Tea. Also consider some of the herbal teas reviewed by my fellow contributors on Review This Reviews, including Louanne's Arbonne Essentials Herbal Detox Tea review and Pure Peppermint herbal tea review, Cynthia's Aveda Comforting Tea review, and BarbRad's Lifestyle Awareness Teas review.

We have flameless LED candles in every room of our house, some that we purchased and others that we received as gifts. Our favorites by far are the Luminara real wax flameless LED candles. Their LED "flames" are signicantly more realistic than their competitors', thanks to Luminara's proprietary moving flame technology, which has been imitated but never equaled (at least, not so far). Ours have interchangeable remote controls, any one of whicht can turn all the Luminara candles in a room on and off with a single click (even though we've purchased them at different times, and from different stores), which is extremely convenient, considering how many candles we have. For the Luminara candles in our bedroom, we use the optional timer feature, which is on a 5 hours on/19 hours off cycle. (We set them to turn on at 6 pm and turn off at 11 pm, so we can go to bed by candlelight.) They're more expensive than other brands, but we think they're well worth the higher price.
Are you or someone you know following a keto diet or low carb lifestyle? If so, what other gift ideas would you add to this Low Carb and Keto Gift Guide ? I'd love to see your suggestions!

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

My First Year on The Keto Diet


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Reviews About Gifts by Our Review This Reviews Contributors




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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

5 Wildlife Gift Ideas Reviewed

Bird In Tree By Raintree Annie
It is wonderful to buy a gift that will be appreciated and be of use and joy to the receiver long after the day it is given. 

If your loved ones are interested in wildlife or like gardening with wildlife in mind here are some beautiful gifts they will enjoy for a long time. 

These gifts are perfect for helping our wildlife and give hours of happiness and interest to your loved ones. They will enjoy watching the birds, carefully observing the many insects and spiders and learning about the fascinating world of wildlife. 

Many of these gifts are suitable for children to seniors and will keep on being of interest, not just when they open the gift but for all year long.  Here are a few ideas of wildlife gifts from my own experience.

1. Insect Or Bug House. 

These are fantastic for attracting all manner of insects and spiders. You simply hang it up in a sheltered spot away from winds in the garden and ideally about 6-7 foot high. I find it is ideal to place an insect house near a pond if you have one, or a hedge or trees or a mixed flower bed. 

You will know that you are providing a lovely home for all manner of insects such as lacewings, ladybugs and butterflies that will make it their home or resting place and often provide beneficial activities for the garden in terms of predating and pollinating. 

Gardeners will love it as it will attract beneficial insects to help them in the garden and anyone interested in insect life will appreciate being able to observe the bug hotel filling up! I have one and although it takes a little while for the insects to know it is there once they find it they move in!


 A lovely gift for a young child interested in bugs through to an adult gardener. 


2.Wildlife Books

A wildlife book for a child just starting on the discovery of nature is a beautiful and thoughtful gift. When introducing children to the fascinating world of wildlife you want the book to be fun educational and interesting.

 A book like this can be the very start of a lifelong love of nature and wildlife that will bring joy, understanding, fun and interest to children and develop a deep love of wildlife and conservation that can last a lifetime. A beautiful thoughtful and truly giving gift.
  


If gifting to an adult a beautiful wildlife book gift is Kate Bradbury's "The Wildlife Gardener."I have given this book as a gift myself and it was very well received. I then ordered another one for myself it was so good! You can read more about it in Diary Of A Wild Country Garden Why I Bought The Wildlife Gardener Book Twice! 


3.Bird Bath 

One of the most important things we can provide to wildlife is fresh clean water. It is essential for birds to drink every day and bathe to clean their feathers every day for their good health. 

In towns and cities especially, birds need birdbaths with fresh clean water in as many gardens as possible. If you have a birdbath in your garden you will attract a wide variety of birds all year round and once they know it is there it is likely to become very popular!

Our birdbath has bird visitors from robins, sparrows, blue tits and blackbirds to name a few every single day all year round!

This is a fantastic gift for many people from the enthusiastic birdwatcher, to anyone who simply enjoys watching the antics of the birds, to the bird photographer who can gain many opportunities to take amazing photographs of birds in action at the birdbath throughout the year.

Many of these birdbaths are also very beautiful decorative pieces for the garden.

 


4. Bird Feeders Station
 
Especially in winter but really all year round birds need additional food to help them survive. A bird feeder set will be lovely to look at, help the birds and give immense pleasure all year round to anyone who loves birds and enjoys watching their antics or learning more about them.

 Great if a young birdwatcher is learning about how to identify different birds as they will visit birdfeeders again and again and with luck will attract a wide variety of birds to learn about.

For anyone, it is beautiful to spend some relaxing time simply watching the birds and often getting to know regular visitors.  I can spend hours simply watching the birds without realising how much time has gone by! It adds interest to the day and a wonderful connection with our wild visitors.
 
A very useful addition to this gift is to give with a supply of good quality bird feed so that they can get started right away on Christmas day!    

There are various ideas and gifts for attracting birds to a garden along with various birdfeeder products in this post from Diary Of A Wild Country Garden Wild Birds Visiting Our Garden 

Baby Robin By Raintree Annie


5.Birdbox.

Many people like to attract wildlife to their gardens and a great way to do this is to hang up a birdbox. Smaller birds like bluetits often love to use these and I have had success in my own garden.

Anyone of any age interested in wildlife can spend ages watching the birds bringing in nest material and identifying them. If fortunate, they may see the baby birds fledge all the while learning more and appreciating wildlife!

Simply hang the birdbox in a sheltered shady spot far away from any birdfeeders or birdbaths so that it is not too busy or noisy for the nesting birds to raise their brood. Ideally, it should be sited in a place where it will not get too hot as this may be difficult for the baby birds to tolerate. 

Then it is a matter of waiting to see if you can attract a breeding pair and raise young in the garden. I feel it's a good idea to have bird nesting boxes in place by early January at the latest so that the birds have time to get used to a new feature in the garden and can assess it long before nesting time. 

It is amazing to watch and highly educational for young people and a real pleasure at any age. 
 



Whichever gift you choose for your loved one, if they love birds and wildlife they will love the thoughtful nature of your gift to them. 




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