2013 Holiday Gift Guide – Frugal Novice
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2013 Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Fiskars Fuse Creativity System

Note: We received a Fuse System to facilitate our review. All opinions are honest and are my own.


If you like crafting, you’re probably familiar with the Fiskars brand. They have a huge variety of crafting supplies available, and they’re well-known for their high-quality products. When I was browsing their site, I came across the Fuse Creativity System and I was instantly intrigued. This system lets you do both die cuts and letterpress work all in one pass, and it’s a unit that doesn’t require any electricity so you can use it anywhere.


One thing I noticed right off the bat was the fact that this pacts up nice and neatly into a briefcase shape, making it easy to pick up and take it with you, or store it away when it’s not in use. The Fuse IS heavy, but the handle makes it reasonable for a non-strong person like myself to carry it.


The Fuse is really easy to open; I just rotated the crank handle outward and pushed down the orange piece you see at the handle of the unit, and voila – it unfolds! You’ll notice in the photo above a grey compartment on the right. That’s the place that houses your accessories. The starter kit comes with several extra pieces:



You receive a cutting plate, a base plate, a die cut, and two letterpress options, along with an inking pad. This is all you need to get started on projects. You receive a great “thank you” plate with a sweet image of a bird and branches, and then a gift tag. With Christmas coming up, the tag was especially interesting to me, so I decided to give it a try.



All I had to do was run the inking pad over the tag plate, then put the plate into the die cut. I put my paper on top of the die, then put the cutting plate on top to form a sandwich. I turned the handle around several times to allow the “sandwich” to make one pass through the Fuse, and I had my finished product!



The Fuse Creativity System starter kit retails for $149.99. It isn’t cheap, but this is great quality and will provide a base to allow you to make all sorts of projects down the line. There are many accessory options you can purchase as well, which give the system even more versatility and make it a great gift option – you can get your loved one the starter kit, and then buy them other accessories to expand the gift down the road!

So, if you’ve got a crafter on your gift list this year, be sure to check out the Fiskars Fuse Creativity System. And while you’re on their site, take a look at all the other many items they carry! You’ll be as impressed as I was with what all they have to offer.



Holiday Gift Guide 2013: I See Me Personalized Books & Gifts {Giveaway}


Note: We received two I See Me Books. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

It can be difficult coming up with unique gift ideas for the kids in your life, but personalized items are a fun and definitely a special option. I See Me is a wonderful site that’s filled with all sorts of items for personalization, like puzzles, books, placemats and lunch boxes. Since our boys both really like books a lot, we chose to try out personalized books.


I’ve actually gotten a personalized book for J before in the past from another site, and I wasn’t impressed with the illustrations at all. The I See Me books are amazing. The illustrations are bright, cheerful and professional, and they integrate your child’s name in really fun ways to the various pages. You even get to include a special dedication message at the front of the book, so the recipient will have another personalized touch.



You can sign up for discount promos and company alerts HERE!
Make sure to connect with ISeeMe on their social media accounts on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram!
And of course, don’t forget to enter the giveaway below – one winner will receive their choice of personalized puzzle, My Very Merry Christmas Board Book, personalized lunch box or 1-2-3 Blast Off With Me personalized book!

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Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Balboa Baby High Chair Cover {Giveaway}




When you’ve got an infant you’re acutely aware of all the germs that are out there, especially in stores and restaurants that are filled with hundreds or thousands of people on a daily basis. We’ve been a fan of Balboa Baby’s shopping cart cover for quite a while now, and now we’ve gotten to try out their high chair cover too. Both are great items for when you’re out and about – so practical and helpful to keep germs away from your little one! But of course, Balboa Baby goes above and beyond practicality – they also have beautiful prints to select from.



We got the Pink Camellia print, and as you can see it comes in a great bag to keep it all contained until you’re ready to use it:



Once you do have it out and in action, you can see an alternate print that really adds to the overall look of the cover:




This cover provides a little cushion for your baby in the hard wooden high chairs at most restaurants, it adds some style, it keeps them away from germs and it’s even machine washable and dryable for easy clean up!

Make sure to keep up with Balboa Baby on Facebook and Twitter

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a high chair cover, shopping cart cover, or tote bag from Balboa Baby!

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Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Posh Play Provides Style for Necessities {Giveaway}


Note: We received a Posh Play Mat. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.


As any parent to an infant knows, you’re inevitably going to be out in public and have to change your baby’s diaper. You’ve got to be well-supplied to make it through these sometimes messy situations, and Posh Play provides stylish necessities for diaper changes and other messes too.


Their eco-friendly, reversible, wipeable changing pad liner is made of PVC free faux leather, which is a stylish and earth-friendly alternative to disposable pads. If you don’t need a changing pad, you can use this as a place mat for your little one – it’s great to put out on restaurant tables! We’re going to use ours as a changing pad, and I love the case it comes in:
It’s a cute little case that allows room for a diaper or two and some wipes so we’re fully prepared for all diaper-changing occasions.
Posh Play products are durable, functional, and made to grow with your child(ren).

Make sure to connect with Posh Play Mat on Facebook!

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway below – the winner will get to select their choice of a Play Mat, Clutch Combo or Pads!

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Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Tiny Love Toys are Perfect Gifts for Little Ones {Giveaway}


Note: We received two toys from Tiny Love. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.


When you’re looking for something colorful, fun, and versatile to give to the littlest people on your gift list, Tiny Love provides perfect options for you to pick from. If you ask me the best toy to give as a baby shower gift, my answer will unequivocally be their various Stroll toys. They are SO great for using on a bouncy seat, or a car seat, or a table, high chair, or stroller. We have loved ours and I’ll enthusiastically recommend it to anyone who asks!

Tiny Love Tiny Princess Butterfly Stroll

Of course, they make other toys too, and have many that would make perfect holiday gifts or stocking stuffers, like the Crosby Clip-On Crab or Follow-Me Fiona:





Be sure and enter the giveaway below for your chance to win your choice of either Crosby, Fiona, or the Starry Night Baby Mobile:



And be sure and follow Tiny Love on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, too!

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Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Bring Holiday Cheer with Build-a-Bear {Giveaway!}


Note: We received a Santa from Build a Bear. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

I think every child knows the excitement that comes along with seeing this box:


Everyone knows something good will be inside! Our two older kids both love going to Build-a-Bear – we have quite a few creations in our house, including a crocodile Brian and I made for J when he was just a baby (complete with our voice recording and all!).

Build-a-Bear has some great holiday offerings to bring some cheer to your kids and your home – we got a visit from Santa, and he’s pretty adorable, if I do say so myself!


There are other choices for your family to pick from (or what I’d really like to do would be collect them all for a fun display that the kids can play with too!).



Make sure to connect with Build-A-Bear on Facebook and Twitter! And of course, be sure and enter our giveaway below, for a $25 Bear Buck$ gift card:
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Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Zutano Baby Clothes {Giveaway}


Note: We received an outfit from Zutano. We were not compensated monetarily for our post. All opinions are honest and our own.


I don’t know if any of you saw my Zutano post from last year, but we absolutely adored the clothes we got for baby E. We got a TON of compliments on them, and I was honestly sad when she outgrew the clothes! Check out my little elf from December 2012:


If you want to see the other things we reviewed last year, you can see that post here. On to this year, though – we got another absolutely adorable set that is fun and bright, and just perfect. I love that Zutano clothes wear great individually as stand-alone pieces, but also work together to give you something  really great. Check out E’s outfit:


The hoodie’s floral print with the striped dress and pink leggings is just SO cute, isn’t it? AND the hoodie is – wait for it – reversible!! It’s a solid hot pink on the inside, so we can always have her wear it reversed for a completely different look. We also got a great hat that she’s received compliments on already:


Little miss strawberry! This hat is fun and functional, and makes a great addition to the outfit.

Beyond the clothes being really cute, my truly favorite thing about them is how well-made they are. We’ve bought clothes from other retailers that start falling apart after a wear or two, but Zutano clothes stand the test of time. The little elf sleeper from last year got worn a TON and looked as good as new when she outgrew it.

Have you ever tried Zutano clothes? If not, you should! Check out their site and also make sure to connect with them on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest! And be sure and enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a $75 gift card to Zutano!
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Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Cutco {Giveaway}


Note: We received a Cutco set. We were not compensated monetarily for this post and all opinions are honest and are our own.



Brian and I love to cook, and we learned pretty early on that some of the most important tools to have in the kitchen are good knives. You’ll make better cuts, you’ll have a better handle on things, and you’ll be safer in the kitchen. Many of our knives are ones that we received as wedding gifts, and over the years they don’t cut quite as well as they used to. So I was pretty thrilled when we received the Shear Utility Set from Cutco.



The shears are awesome. There’s a perfect spot to rest your index finger which gives you stability and strength when you’re cutting. They’re a nice weight, and they cut sooooo smoothly and easily! Another great feature is that the shears come apart for washing, so you can be assured that they’ll really get clean.



The trimmer knife is great, too. You can see how the blade is forged and runs through the length of the handle. But my favorite part of this knife is how it’s shaped to perfectly fit within your palm. It is the most comfortable knife to cut with I’ve ever used.



Cutco knives are high quality, are extremely sharp, and are made in America. They also come with the Forever Guarantee:


Keep up with Cutco on FacebookPinterestTwitterYouTubeGoogle+


Now you have the chance to try out Cutco knives for yourself – enter this giveaway for your chance to win the Cook’s Combo, which includes a petite chef knife and a trimmer knife.



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Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Aden + Anais Dream Blanket


Note: We received a blanket. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.


love aden + anais blankets. We used their swaddling blankets almost exclusively with E – the muslin is light and breathable, with great prints, but it still keeps babies snug and warm. They’re huge, too, which makes swaddling a breeze! Here’s one of the blankets we had for E:



aden + anais blankets aren’t just for babies, though. They have Dream Blankets that are perfect for kids (or, let’s be honest, moms who snag said blankets to snuggle on the couch) and would make a great gift! In our house, our 4-year-old C will claim the Dream Blanket.He loves to snuggle and this will be perfect for him! The organic dream blanket is made with four layers of fully certified organic cotton that is grown and manufactured in an environmentally responsible way.



The print on this blanket is great – and neutral, so it’s perfect for a boy or a girl. It’s 47″ square and is a great size to cover up with or snuggle with. It is really nice and thick, but the breathable organic muslin keeps it from feeling too heavy.


Make sure to connect with aden+anais on their social media channels. You can find them on Facebook and TwitterYou’ll want to be aware of all their great products for gift ideas, both for the holidays and beyond. Their swaddling blankets are my favorite shower gift to give.

Wouldn’t you like a Dream Blanket of your own? Well, be sure to enter for your chance to win!

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Holiday Gift Guide: Graco Blossom Seating System {Giveaway}


Note: We received a Blossom high chair. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.



We have been HUGE Graco fans since J was born back in 2007. We had a Graco SnugRide car seat, the stroller that went with the travel system, the play yard,  the swing, and the high chair… and we loved every single item. With each of our other two kids we’ve brought them home in the hospital in a Graco SnugRide because it’s a seat – and brand – we trust with our babies.

Because of our longstanding history with Graco, I’m never surprised when I hear about another amazing product they’ve created. Of course it’s amazing – it’s Graco. You can see the research that’s put into both the functionality and quality of everything they’ve produced. So I was impressed, but not surprised, when we got to see the Blossom 4-in-1 Seating System up close and personal.



This isn’t just a high chair. It’s a modular 4-in-1 system designed to adjust to children’s seating needs- and to accommodate more than one child in your growing family. It transforms seamlessly from an extremely functional highchair to an infant feeding booster, a toddler booster, and finally a youth chair. Should your family suddenly grow, it can even accommodate a baby and a toddler at the table all at once. The 6-position height adjustment assures a front row seat for baby at any family table. And the 3-position removable footrest and 3-position one-hand reclining seat will ensure your growing child stays comfortable at mealtime.

Here are some other features of the Blossom:

  • 4-in-1 modular seating system adjusts to your growing child’s seating needs
  • The innovative design allows you to seat two children simultaneously
  • 6-position height adjustment helps position baby at any table
  • Two front over-molded wheels with two locking rear castors for enhanced mobility
  • 3-positon adjustable footrest helps keep your child comfy as he grows
  • Infant head and body support help keep baby comfortably positioned
  • One-hand, 3-position adjustable reclining seat properly positions baby for feeding
  • Removable tray with dishwasher-safe, pull-out insert for hassle-free clean ups
  • Removable seat back insert helps position your growing child at the table

This seat is incredibly well-made, is easy to assemble, and is the ultimate in versatility. It’s something we can use with E as a stand-alone high chair or as a booster that straps in to a chair; or if our good friends with a baby come over, we can seat both E and our friends’ baby too. I also love the fact that the seat is largely neutral with a printed inset that adds subtle style.



Pretty great, right? And it’s even greater that I get to give one of these away… and even greater still that there are TWO chances to win! One winner will get the Blossom Seating System, and one will get the Graco Smart Seat car seat!


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Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Mamas & Papas {Giveaway}




Note: We received product samples. We were not compensated monetarily for our review, and all opinions are honest and are our own.

Mamas & Papas is a company that began in Great Britain 30 years ago, and now thankfully their products are available in the United States as well! From clothes to gear to accessories and more, they have vibrant, colorful, thoughtful products that are well-made to boot. We have their Magic Galaxy mobile in E’s crib and it is beyond amazing – we get comments on it anytime someone sees it. It’s not only pretty, it’s also interactive and fun for E.

We got to check out two great gift ideas – the Gingerbread knit blanket and the Happy Hen toy.



adore this blanket. It’s a solid knit that I know will stand the test of time (and lots of snuggling from E). The colors are bright and the striped pattern gives it a modern feel. This is a blanket you’ll use, but that’s also great to have out on display in your nursery because it’s just that great-looking.



The happy hen toy cracks me up. You can’t play with this and not smile. It’s adorable, sure… but the magic happens when you turn it on. The hen yodels a cheery tune and vibrates. The kids all think it’s great! Beyond that it has different textures in the wings so it’s a tactile toy as well. So fun, and a perfect stocking stuffer!

I’d feel bad telling you all about these great gift ideas and not giving you a chance to have them for yourself, so why not have a giveaway? The winner will get a blanket (Gingerbread or Once Upon a Time) and the Happy Hen toy.

Oh, and be sure you’re keeping up with Mamas & Papas on social media. They’re a pretty great company – you’ll want to know what they’re up to.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Pediped Shoes {Giveaway}


Note: We received product samples. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

I have always loved shoes, so it comes as no surprise that I have a blast buying shoes for E. Of course, with her little feet still growing, and with her in the early walking stage, it’s very important to me that she has shoes that look good AND are good for her feet. Pediped is the perfect solution. Their shoes are great (I’d seriously wear many of the designs if they made them in grown-up sizes) and the soles are flexible, allowing little feet to move like they should.

We got two pairs of shoes, and let me tell you, it was hard narrowing down which pairs to get. Well, I lie. One pair jumped out to me right away:


Aren’t these silver mary janes perfect? They’re festive and neutral and I know E will get a lot of use out of them.

Of course, a girl needs some casual wear too so I looked for some athletic shoes for her as well. They have so many cute sporty shoes that it took me a while to finally decide on these:



Wouldn’t you wear those? I think they’re great! But of course, Pediped is more than just style. Take a look at the soles of the shoes:




The mary janes have a soft sole, and the tennis shoes have a flex zone that allows E’s toes and arch to move naturally while she’s walking, unlike many stiff-soled infant shoes.

Keep up with Pediped on social media: facebook  |  twitter   |  instagram  |  youtube  |  pinterest

Your little one needs some Pediped shoes too, right? Well then, be sure and enter this giveaway – you’ll get to pick a pair if you win!

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