Like Oprah before me, I’ve made a list of My Favorite Things for the year. You may use them as a list of suggestions for Holiday Shopping. In fact, since I liked these things so much, I contacted the companies behind them and told them how I felt and guess what, some of them are offering Suburban Mama readers special discount codes!
In this day and age of mass-produced products, it is comforting to know that there are still companies who strive to make things especially for you, just for you. Want something special? Customize it.
Personalized t-shirts. I made shirts that say my son’s names for their birthdays at www.customizedgirl.com. It’s a hit with the kids’ classmates and it’s a great way to spot them in a crowd. There are other companies that can make shirts too. If you are more crafty, you can always by a plain white tee and use iron-on paper with a computer-generated design or silkscreen something yourself.
Personalized books. Okay, so I am so psyched about the customized book I got for my 2-year old son from the mommy-owned company Custom Made for Kids (www.customamdeforkids.com). The book is called “The First Adventures of Incredible You” and is beautifully illustrated by Jill Dryer Bartolucci, a Chicago artist and written by Sarah Riley Headrick and Sarah Foreman Rivera, two suburban mamas who met at a playgroup. Through simple yet thoughtful rhymes, YOUR child experiences many firsts like going to the zoo, the beach and a sports event. Make it extra special by using names of people and places in your child’s life. The book will work for boys and girls.
(For my older son, I think I’ll try something out from a company called Flatten Me. They personalize a storybook with your child’s photo. Haven’t placed an order yet but will definitely let you know. How this turns out.)
NO SEWING REQUIRED
After attending a Viv Pickle* party earlier this year, made me realize how much fun it was to make a handbag just for you. I haven’t tried these companies, but here are some other sites I found that customize bags: Maverydesigns.biz, Daisybags.com andMandybbags.com
OFF THE WALL
Decorative paintings and wall art –you know those pretty ones with your child’s name that cost a fortune from Pottery Barn and the like? You should check out Park Road Studios and The Vintage Sister –both artists are suburban mamas (yay, for moms!).
I think one of the best presents anyone can give or receive is a book! This year, I am gifting myself with Deceptively Delicious, it’s that buzzed about book by Jessica Seinfeld, which “sneaks in” healthy ingredients into recipes so your kids will eat it without noticing they’re having veggies with their food.
I highly recommend the books we’ve reviewed in the past: Moms Lifesavers and the super hilarious Daddy Needs a Drink by Robert Wilder(both available on Amazon.) In fact, I’ve just ordered Robert’s second book Tales from the Teacher’s Lounge for my teacher friends.
And for the kids in your life, if you are tired of the movie-tv-marketing-tie-in books from Disney and Nickelodeon (yes, I mean you Dora and Diego and Mickey too) please check out Barefoot Books and Usborne Books. They have a fantastic selection.
Finally, if you’d rather hear your stories than read them and use your imagination to visualize, you must must check out the CDs Tell Me A Story 1 and 2(www.mythsandtales.com), timeless folk tales from around the world by Amy Friedman. My boys and I had the chance to listen to the author herself tell stories from the cds and were delightfully entertained. On our car ride back home, we popped in the CD and were wowed by the good-old fashioned storytelling by veteran actors.
MORE ON MY FAVORITE THINGS NEXT ISSUE:
Well, it looks like I don’t have enough room here, so I will definitely continue this list next issue. Coming up, my fave beauty products, food/cooking items and other things from the home. Perhaps by then you would’ve shared your list of favorite things with us too. **