Where oh where does the time fly to? It just two months now until Christmas--and 3 months until Andrew's 2nd birthday! It might seem a bit early to some, but I'm already in holiday shopping mode pre-Halloween. Too many last-minute mall shopping trips have definitely scarred me!
This year, like last, I really have to set a Christmas present budget and stick to it. So, its homemade gifts when possible and on-sale items for the rest. Luckily, there are so many discount stores and online shops with great, budget-friendly gift collections. BUT, you must make sure you get in there early so that a) your gifts arrive in time with the cheapest shipping option and b) you miss any holiday price jacking madness!
In an early spirit of giving--because I always feel like giving to you all!--here is a list of my favorite budget gift-buying locales of the moment.
1) The Christmas Tree Shops: Run, run, run now to your local Christmas Tree Shop (Rocklanders, there is one in the Spring Valley Marketplace). Despite its holiday name, this chain of stores is a year-round mecca for low-cost, good quality home goods and toys--meaning GIFTS! I particularly adore the seasonally decorated bakeware and tableware for as low as $1, which would be perfect for an adult friend or relative (and me!)
2) Zulily.com and Totsy.com: Both of these websites offers great products at nicely-discounted prices from babies/children, women, men, and the home. I really like to order fancy kids clothes, accessories, maternity clothes, and toys that I could not otherwise afford from these stores--but you must order early due to their 2-4+ week shipping time! Of course, it is hit or miss with how good the discount is--but sometime you'll find a really great deal that begs buying (see $20/originally $54 dress from Zulily at right).
4) Lenox.com's Clearance Section: Ditto the above for the Lenox online clearance section--but this time, you'll be giving the prized Lenox name! Lenox has jewelry, flatware, tableware, glassware, figurines, ornaments and more on sale. There's destined to be something budget-friendly which would make a great gift for friends, moms, moms-in-law, or coworkers. How about a $20 set of 4 3-inch 24-karat-gold-accented fine china mini angel ornaments (originally $43)? Or a $5.00 lidded Dansk sugar bowl and its matching creamer (each originally $19)? I know I wouldn't mind receiving the $6.95 24-karat-gold-accented square Hope dish (below; originally $20)!
So, what are you waiting for, Christmas Eve? Start hand-crafting and sale-shopping with me sooner rather than later so we won't have to pull our hair out come December. And please send me your favorite bargain-shopping locales too--I can always use more!
My pumpkin hanging with some pumpkins
behind the Lawrence Farms store
Ok, ok, I'll stop sleeping and eating for a second to post a promised review! Seriously, I do miss posting here more often and keeping up with all my wonderful blog friends, but I didn't remember how rough the first trimester was. And, it sure does makes a huge difference having an energetic boy to watch over this time around!
That said, amid all my eating and sleeping we did make it out to Lawrence Farms Orchards in Newburgh, NY for some apple and veggie picking at the end of last month. And we had a blast! The place is huge and though there were a lot of other folks there, at times it felt like we were wandering through the farm alone (which was so lovely and peaceful). Even somewhat late in the season, there was a good variety of veggies, pears and apples to choose from. And I really loved that everything was labeled so nicely so that you could pick and choose what to gather. Also, most everything could be picked while standing on the ground, which meant no need to wield huge picking poles while wrangling children!
In the cabbage patch
We didn't think ahead to bring a wagons or apple bags, but both are available for a small rental fee on-site. Also on-site were the most delicious apple cider donuts ever, an adorable farm store, a food stand for lunch and picnic tables (quickly-filled), some horses, two huge friendly dogs, and other animals to admire, a hay maze, and a play area filled with adorable kid-sized playhouses--a horse stable, firehouse, church and more!
We will definitely be returning to Lawrence next year--probably in the summer as well to pick more vegetables. The whole experience was definitely worth the ride upstate--and the naps we all needed to take afterward!
We're having another baby this spring, due on May 2nd (a couple days after my 30th birthday no less) and we're super excited! So, pretty please forgive me for not posting frequently this past month or two--the first trimester is kicking my butt this second time around. Nausea, aversion to most smells, aches and pains, exhaustion, you name it. But, really, who wouldn't suffer through it all gladly when the outcome is an adorable, miracle of a baby?
I can't wait for Andrew to have a sibling, and, at the same time, I'm certainly scared of how things will change when there are two babies in the household. But, there are so many others before me who have done it before and survived (Heeellooooo, 19 Kids and Counting! No, seriously, I will not have 19 kids...)
Be on the lookout for reviews of new baby products (I'm gonna get me a Mamaroo!), Rockland OB/GYNs, and more, and also for my search for awesome double stroller (wow, a double stroller.) Its gonna be fun!
Also, to make things fun, enter my baby gender and birthday pool! The person closest to the correct answer this Spring will win a set of 3 handmade soap bars from my favorite Ukrainian mall kiosk and online store Craft-o-Land. I am obsessed with their soap bars and even my super-sensitive nose still loves them. Hooray!