My Favorite Things

How to Throw a Favorite Things Party

by Jessie on January 4, 2012

Why is Oprah’s Favorite Things show always a wild success?  With all the products out there, we all want someone else to tell us what the very best ones are and save us the trouble of buying the bad ones. Isn’t it so nice to have a personal recommendation before purchasing something?  That’s how I decided I wanted to throw a Favorite Things Party.  I realized that even with my closest friends, there were certain things that didn’t come up in normal conversation like, “What do you use to clean your toilets?”.

I’ve hosted two Favorite Thing Parties and they’ve both been so fun!  It’s basically just an evening of chatting about the things that have made our lives easier/happier.  I try to invite a broad range of people to get a lot of different ideas.  On the invite, I give a list of topics we’ll be discussing so people can have time to think about their favorites and I also make a note that “show-and-tell” items are encouraged!

Here are some of my favorite topics:

Favorite beauty product
Favorite cleaning tool/supply/tip
Favorite Kitchen gadget/Cooking Tip
Favorite item from Trader Joes
Favorite thing you wear (watch, undies, jeans, shoes)
Favorite restaurant
Favorite ingenious kid item (toy, bath product, gear)
Favorite way to save money
Favorite item you splurge on
Favorite free/cheap date
Favorite thing in your shower/tub
Favorite unknown band
Favorite healthy snack

It’s a fun idea to have everyone bring their favorite snack as a treat for the evening.  Not everyone has to share for each topic and depending on the amount of discussion, you might only get to a few topics, but you are sure to end the evening with a list of new things you want to try out!

Here are just a few ideas to get your wheels turning on what you might bring to the party, based on some of our favorites.

I went to a party last year where we all brought our favorite items under $5.  Some brought their favorite Cover Girl blush, denture cleaner that they use to clean their rings, rubber gloves for washing dishes and other fun ideas.  It was right around Easter time, so I brought Cadbury Mini-Eggs.  If I had to choose one food to eat for the rest of my life, these would win.  Hands down.  For more of my favorite items (ranging from super cheap to the spendy side), check out my My Favorite Things post from last holiday season.

I hope this has inspired you to host your own Favorite Things Party, everyone is sure to have a great time!

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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are supporting this blog. Thanks!

In the spirit of the shopping season, we are excited to share with you some of our favorite things! Our hope is by sharing our tested and approved ideas, it may help buy for some of the people on your list and come up with a wish list of your own.  Every Monday for four weeks we will be featuring some of our favorite things and will even be giving away a couple of them!  All of these are things we genuinely love and think you might love too.

In case you missed it:

Emilie’s Favorite Things
Melody’s Favorite Things
Jessie’s Favorite Things

A bit about my kids:

They are very boy-like.  Dirty, loud, often smelly, adventurous, daring, reckless, noisy, adorable and sweet.  Man, are they sweet.  Most of the time.  I just know in my heart that I was meant to be the mother of these boys.  The outrageous joy they bring to my life every day can’t be put into words.

A few of their favorites that aren’t on this list: Eating, eating dirt, eating things off the floor, eating food off each other’s plates, trading their fruits and vegetables with each other, cars, trains, trucks, dump trucks, chasing each other with trucks, anything with wheels, blowing raspberries at each other and eating some more.

 

 

 

 

 

Leapfrog Tag Junior or Magnetic Fridge ToysWe love just about anything made by Leapfrog in our house, but these are the two things that have been the most well-loved.  We gave the Tag Junior to our oldest son when he was about 21 months old, on the day our youngest was born.  He loved to read anyway, but this put the power in his hands.  Plus, it was fantastic to have on hand during long car trips.  We have since passed it down to our youngest and our oldest son is getting the Tag Reading System for Christmas.

The fridge toys are just amazing.  I have no idea why our kids love them so much, but both of them are enthralled.  We have both the farm fridge toy and the alphabet fridge toy.  I can barely see the front of our fridge, but it’s worth it.  These have been great to keep them entertained while I’m making dinner.  My oldest son spells out magnificently long words using every letter in the alphabet with the magnets.  Combine these boys with the Letter Factory DVD and my kids are going to be running the world pretty soon.

Highlights High Five magazineI’ve posted before about this magazine and how much my kids love it.  We received a subscription as a gift last Christmas and it has been one of the most amazing gifts we’ve ever received.  The minute it comes in the mail, our oldest son sits down and devours it cover to cover.  He loves to read it with Dad before bed and thinks the “Find the Silly Things” activity is just about the funniest thing that has ever been invented.  This would make such a fun gift idea for your kids, grandkids or somebody else’s kids.  Especially for those people who have toys taking over their house, this makes a wonderful (and educational) change.

Strider Balance Bike -I can not tell you enough how much my son loves this bike.  We got it for him last Christmas and he really started riding it around March or April, which would have put him just a few months shy of 3.  We tried and tried to find a tricycle or Big Wheel that he could reach the pedals on to no avail.  It took him a few months to really feel comfortable on his Strider, but he is now constantly terrifying me on a daily basis with his no-fear approach to barreling 100 mph down our driveway.  His balance is amazing and I truly feel like this will make his transition to a traditional 2-wheeler super easy.  Either way, he just loves this darn thing.  It was the best purchase we made last year!

Sandra Boynton books - If you have never read one of these, you are definitely missing out.  We received several for baby shower gifts when I was pregnant with our oldest son and they are fantastic.  We have bought quite a few to add to the collection.  The words are hilarious and so catchy.  They are short enough to hold the interest of a rambunctious toddler, especially when you act out the parts and use crazy voices like the animals in the books.  The stories are just very witty and the illustrations are so fun.  Our favorites are Barnyard Dance and Moo Baa La La La.

Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Blaze FlashlightI bought this on a whim when I was redeeming one of my various vouchers for Melissa & Doug toys.  I think I needed a filler item to get over a certain amount.  I swear, we have gotten every penny’s worth out of this thing.  Every bedtime and every naptime, we use it to read stories in my son’s bedroom.  We make shadow puppets on the wall with it.  I’m pretty sure the batteries have lasted for 1,072 hours as it often gets left on overnight and NEVER gets hot.  When my son is not quite ready to go to bed, we let him sit in bed with it and read stories to himself.  Again, one of the best purchases of 2011.

Swaddle Designs Lovie blanketI don’t think I can possibly say enough about these blankets.  Both of my kids have had one since birth and they have been through the ringer.  We bought our oldest a second blanket, just in case, and he now sleeps with both.  I’m not even sure how he found the second one.  He just sniffed it out.  They are amazingly soft with two different textures, super soft and fuzzy on one side and satin on the other.  My kids don’t sleep well without them.  They are fairly small, perfect for little hands and just so soft.  Disclaimer: They do lose a little softness after 3,278 washes.

We are so lucky to be partnering with Swaddle Designs to give you the chance to win the Swaddle Duo receiving/swaddling blankets!

Thanks for letting me share some of my favorite things! I’d love to hear what your favorites are or if you have tried any of mine.

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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are supporting this blog. Thanks!

My Favorite Things Series: Jessie Heaviland

by Jessie on November 28, 2011

In the spirit of the shopping season, we are excited to share with you some of our favorite things! Our hope is by sharing our tested and approved ideas, it may help buy for some of the people on your list and come up with a wish list of your own.  Every Monday for four weeks we will be featuring some of our favorite things and will even be giving away a couple of them!  All of these are things we genuinely love and think you might love too.

A bit about Jessie:

I’m so excited about this favorite things series because I’m the kind of person who loves to blab about things that I love and that work well for our family!  I’m a mom of 2 (baby #3 due in January) and my favorite things list has certainly morphed over time as more kid items sneak into our lives. Some of my favorite things that are not listed here are: sleep, egg nog, being pregnant, playing/winning board games, cooking new recipes, anytime the underdog wins, surprises, reading books to my kids and waking up with the man of my dreams.

Baby Bjorn Scoop Bibs- Seriously in my top 3 baby items I cannot live without.  These have saved the carpet under our dining room table as well as many messes at restaurants!

The NinjaMaster Prep Professional Blender- I have always drooled over friend’s Vitamixes but have never had an extra $400 in the budget for one.  So, when it was time to look for a new blender, my husband headed to consumer reports.  Sure enough, the Vitamix was #1 but the $69 Ninja was #2!  We bought it and have loved it since.  We’ve never had such a powerful blender!

 

Carnation Chocolate Malted Mix- I currently am obsessed with chocolate malts.  It may be a pregnancy craving but who doesn’t love a chocolate malt?  This three pack is way cheaper than anything you’ll find at the grocery store.  A fantastic stocking stuffer!

Bissell CleanView Upright Vacuum- Another consumer reports “best buy” that has rocked our world this year.  It’s AMAZING!  I can’t stop talking about it.  I vaccumed my house with it two days after vacuuming with my old vaccum and it filled up the canister with dirt.  It has crazy sucking power.  A friend actually asked me if I had gotten new carpet!

Kids in Motion CD- Our family has weekly rock-out sessions to this cd.  It gets your kids groovin’ all around the house and can burn off some of those chocolate malt calories for mommies too!  It’s the perfect gift for the kid who has everything.

Thanks for letting me share some of my favorite things! I’d love to hear what your favorites are or if you have tried any of mine.

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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are supporting this blog. Thanks!

My Favorite Things Series: Melody’s Edition

by Melody on November 21, 2011

In the spirit of the shopping season, we are excited to share with you some of our favorite things! Our hope is by sharing our tested and approved ideas, it may help buy for some of the people on your list and come up with a wish list of your own.  Every Monday for four weeks we will be featuring some of our favorite things and will even be giving away a couple of them!  All of these are things we genuinely love and think you might love too.

A bit about Melody:

Becoming a blogger has given me the somewhat misguided notion that everyone in the world wants to hear all about the things I love.  This “My Favorite Things” series gives me an excuse to tell you all some of my favorites, hopefully without coming across as bossy.  I am constantly telling anyone who will listen about the wonderful things we use on a daily basis.  I always feel like if we have found something time-saving or life-changing, everyone else should know about it too.  A few of my favorites that are not on this list:  My crazy boys and my crazy husband, coffee, sports of all kinds, fantasy football, a really amazing song that comes on the radio when I am in the car by myself (which is almost never), stolen moments to myself, really good cheese, working out religiously and food.  All food.

Tastefully Simple Fiesta Party DipMy mom actually introduced me to this dip.  A few years ago, when both my brothers were living at home and they had a 17-year old foreign exchange student, I think she went through about 17 bottles of this a week.  All you need to make it is mayonnaise and sour cream.  I generally always have it made in the fridge to use as dip, to spread on hamburgers or just to eat with a spoon.  I love to make it for last-minute get-togethers because everybody raves about it.  My husband eats it like candy.  It’s also an easy and fun hostess gift.

Peeled Snacks Raisin ExpectationsI hate raisins.  I tell anyone that will listen that I think raisins are gross.  They are hard and tasteless and look disgusting.  Until I had Peeled Snacks raisins.  Then my life changed.  I am a converted raisin-hater.

They are chewy and sweet and delicious.  My kids wolf them down.  I sneak bags of them when nobody is looking.  I make oatmeal raisin cookies just so I can give the raisins a sweet home.  I just ordered a case of them because I can’t stop eating them and I figure there could be far worse snacks.

Flip & Tumble Reusable BagsThis may be the most amazing, the most used and the most loved item that I own.  This reusable bag is made out of a super stretchy material and holds up to 25 pounds.  Rolled up, it is about the size of an avocado and fits neatly in your purse so it is always with you.

What I dislike about most of these type of bags is that the folding is obnoxious.  You have to lay them out, fold them just right and hope they don’t fall apart while you snap it.  The Flip & Tumble has a little bag stitched on the inside and you literally just shove the outer bag into the inner bag.  My toddler can do it.  It takes 2 seconds.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion – I realize you may be a little shocked by this one, as I am an avid Rite Aid shopper and buy 99% of my toiletry items there.  However, I have been using this lotion since I was in high school and it is the most consistently effective product I use, no matter what my stage in life.  Dry cold weather?  Check.  Crazy hormonal pregnancy skin?  Check.  It’s like a ray of sunshine for your face.  An ice cold drink of water for your skin.  It’s amazing.  It’s so hydrating, but so light.

It is definitely one of the more expensive things I buy for myself, but I try to wait until they offer a free gift with purchase either online or at their makeup counter.  I have never purchased a makeup bag, Clinique’s free gifts come in the cutest bags ever.  They also come with mascara, eyeshadow, lipstick and a few other fun items.

Totally Together Planner/Organizer by Stephanie O’Dea – You can read my original review on this planner here.  You may have also seen me rave up one side of the blog and down the other about this thing.  I have been using it for about a month and a half and it is seriously a game-changer.  I was on the verge of forcing my husband to eat Top Ramen for every meal, just so we could hire a housekeeper.  I don’t mind cleaning the house at all, but it tends to make me anxious because I just don’t feel like I can get to it all.

This planner keeps me organized, reminds me to clean, reminds me to take care of those oft-forgotten chores, reminds me to bake cookies with my kids.  Since I’ve been using this planner, I have dusted my ceiling fans twice, actually cleaned under my couch cushions and thoroughly cleaned the inside of my washing machine.  All while easily keeping up with the rest of the house and feeling far less stressed about it all.  This thing is brilliant.  You should definitely own it.

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch – I realize this is a children’s book, but I truly think it was written for the parents.  Before my husband and I had our two boys, we suffered a miscarriage.  I was about 3 months along and this book had been one of the things I had already bought for our baby.  Part of the reason I love it so much is that it is wrapped up in a very emotional time for me and every time I read it, I am reminded of how lucky we are to have two healthy boys.

The other reason I love it is that it is such an amazing story.  It is a wonderful description of the sweet cycle of life and a parent’s love for their children.  Even though I’ve read it a million times and know exactly how it goes, I still tear up at the end every time I read it.

Thanks for letting me share some of my favorite things!  I’d love to hear what your favorites are or if you have tried any of mine.  If you haven’t, I think you should.

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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are supporting this blog. Thanks!

My Favorite Things Series: Emilie’s Edition

by Emilie on November 13, 2011

In the spirit of the shopping season, we are excited to share with you some of our favorite things! Our hope is by sharing our tested and approved ideas, it may help buy for some of the people on your list and come up with a wish list of your own.  Every Monday for four weeks we will be featuring some of our favorite things and will even be giving away a couple of them!  All of these are things we genuinely love and think you might love too.

A bit about Emilie:

A priority for our family this year has been simplifying and enjoying our time together more.  As a family of five living in the city in a tiny little fixer-upper house, it has been a necessity.  And honestly, keeping it simple  and focusing on how we use our time has been incredibly freeing.  As I look through my list of favorites below, I see these focuses as a theme. This year’s rule has been that if you don’t use it regularly or love it, it has to go.   In addition to these fun ideas, some of my other favorites that can’t be bought on the world wide web are early morning snuggles with our littlest, trying new restaurants with my hubby and watching my kiddos grow from babies in to little people.

Tickle Monster Laughter Kit from Compendium  –  This might be the best gift I can come up with for a family with young kids.  It fits nicely in the bookcase, every age kid loves it, it gets the whole family having fun together, and it is adorable and affordable.  If you don’t have this book or its counterpart the Boogie Monster Dance Kit, add it to your kids Christmas list.  I guarantee you will use it all year long.

We are also doing a giveaway of The Tickle Monster Laughter Kit here.  Enter and you could win a kit to wrap and put under the tree before Christmas! Giveaway ends November 20th, 2011.

Compendium is also offering This Beautiful Frugal Life readers an exclusive coupon code on their website .  Enter code Boogie2011 to get 20% off your entire order! You can even buy  the Boogie Monster Kit, which I haven’t seen discounted anywhere else!

Fruit & Veggie Pouches – Okay, maybe you already know about these fruit and veggie pouches like the Plum Organics Mish Mash Pouches and Happy Baby Happy Tot Pouches.  Just in case you don’t, however, I have to mention them.  They are my kids favorite snack and  I love hearing them beg for beets and sweet potatoes.  Ecomom has some great options on these as well.  Check out my post on Ecomom to see how to get some great discounts.

 

Zella Live In Leggings – I’m seriously obsessed with these leggings. I know what you are saying, “$52? For leggings? Emilie, you are supposed to be frugal.”  I’m a legging girl. I wear them to workout in, sleep in, with dresses, with t-shirts, to clean house, to go out to dinner. You get the memo.  I’ve been through about 30 black pairs in the last few years.  Seriously, they get stretched out, worn out, faded, holes in the knees.

Then I discovered these, threw out all the old leggings and now have only two pairs. And I wear them almost seven days a week. My favorite part, they are reversible.  One side is more athletic (you can see the stitching), the other can be dressed up.  I’ve been known to go in to a bathroom and reverse my leggings after my kids smear  stuff all over me.  I also get asked almost weekly, “Where did you get those leggings?” The thickness, stretchiness, color, fit, ability to suck in a fat tummy, length, it’s all perfect.  Have I sold you on the $52 leggings yet?

Please buy these leggings, and thank me later. They are the best $52 you have ever spent.   Make sure you buy them from Nordstrom (the only place they are available) through Ebates, however, so you get 3% cashback.  Did you know Nordstrom always has free shipping with no minimums?  Add it to the list of reasons I’m in love with these pants.
Knock Knock Notepads – These are my favorite housewarming gift, stocking stuffer, and birthday gift.  They are creative. some are really funny and most are useful! I love them all, especially the All Out Of Pad and the What to Eat Pad.  Helpful, cute, inexpensive and  fun.  Need I say more? As far as I can tell, Amazon has the best price on them and has a pretty good selection.

Clairsonic Mia Skin Cleansing System – This is a bit of a splurge but well, it’s amazing.  I feel like I get a facial everyday using this. I’ve been using it for almost a year and have noticed a huge improvement in the condition of my skin.  I’ve even had people tell me how great my skin (which has always been prone to breakouts) looks.  There’s a reason it gets such rave reviews on Amazon, because they are true! Forward this post to anybody who wants to know what you want for Christmas.  You want this, trust me.

Thanks for letting me share some of my favorite things! I’d love to hear what your favorites are or if you have tried any of mine.

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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are supporting this blog. Thanks!

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