Saturday, November 28, 2020

50+ Gift And Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Tweens and Teens


 FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

It's so hard to shop for tweens and teens.  I try and stay away from electronics because really, do they need more encouragement to spend time looking at a screen?  Here's some of my favorite gift ideas for tweens and teens.

Something they can use for a lifetime is always a good idea.  My husband has a MUCH younger brother.  A few years ago we started getting him high quality age appropriate tools.  Examples are a light with magnet extender that can be used to pick up nails (great fun for a nine year old as he hung it from the living room chandelier), a tape measure, and a hammer.  Good quality tools are expensive and can last a very long time.  So it might seem weird to gift your tween or teen a screwdriver, chances are, they will appreciate it for decades to come.  Girls also need tools.  When I was in college, there was only one girl on the floor in my dorm who brought a tool set to college, and you'd be
amazed at how many times we visited her to borrow from her basic tool kit

Along the same lines, if your tween / teen shows interest in a hobby, get them good supplies.  Do they like to draw?  Good quality colored pencils (even good for those who aren't into drawing because a high quality colored pencil is SO much better than the cheap ones and you do need them through college.)  Try getting them into a new hobby -- crochet hooks and a skein of yarn aren't expensive (sometimes as low as $10 for both), and you can find lots of tutorials on YouTube.  Same with knitting needles.  Or find a small cross stitch kit such as this Pusheen one that would be of interest to get her started on a new hobby.  What about a wood burning set?  

One year, I gave a tween boy a S'mores maker.  My mother thought I was ridiculous, but he loved it.  Speciality appliances can be a hit.  Remember, college isn't too far off, so they can be the cool kid with a small fridge in their bedroom now and take it to college in a few years!  Other great ideas are a movie theater  style popcorn popper.  Something the family can enjoy until they move out on their own.  What about a cotton candy machine?  They are around $50, and can turn hard candy into spun cotton candy -- the one I linked to can even use sugar free candy, and not all of them can.  Cuisinart makes a soft serve ice cream maker
that has a mix it ins where things like sprinkles, chocolate chips, and cookie pieces can be mixed right into the ice cream.

Other great ideas can be something that's normal but can be cool.  Why not a lamp for their room with a glass base where they can store small treasures -- seashells from the beach, rocks, etc.  There's always items that hold memories that are small and you don't know what to do with them, so this is a great way to store some of those things.

Blankets these days are not your normal blanket.  Why not get them one that looks like a burrito, pizza, poached egg, or waffle

If they don't have a good sleeping bag, now might be the time to get them a good quality one that doesn't have a cartoon character on it.  I went to so many sleepovers, camp outs, and camps as a teen I totally wore mine out.

Board games have gotten a bad rap over the years but a few that seem to be favorites are Pandemic where everyone works together to either win or lose as a group.  Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride are other favorites.  Exit games play like an escape room in a box.  (The Exit games are considered legacy games and are good for only one play.)  Just this year there is the new Cards Against Humanity Family Edition.  This isn't just the old Cards Against Humanity with inappropriate cards removed, but all new cards and plenty of potty humor.  (I actually want this for myself!)  In the past I have taken my original set and removed all cards inappropriate for the under 18 crowd and it's been a huge hit with tweens and teens.

With virtual schooling still being a thing, why not get them something to make it easier or more enjoyable?  Some ideas are blue light blocking glasses, USB warming slippers, USB warming gloves,  and a fun or unique computer mouse like this one that looks like a Volkswagen Bug, or a nice lap desk with storage so they can go to school in bed on the couch. 

Grilled cheese toaster bags.  You put cheese between two slices of bread.  Put it in the toaster.  I use these all the time -- it's best if you butter the toast after it is done before you eat it.

Doesn't every teen need six inch wiggle eyes to adorn their bedroom door?

You can't go wrong with S'mores, and the three pack of S'mores Chapstick is sure to be a hit in flavors of graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate.

Funky socks such as "If you can read this, bring me pizza"

LED face mask

A jar of peanut butter they don't have to share.

A poop knife.  (Yes, it's a thing.)

Shakespearian Insult Coffee Mug

Large assortment of hot cocoa K-Cups

40 Count Frito Lay variety chips

An "Instant audience" device that cheers, rimshot sound, boos, and has cricket sounds

An extendable fork so they can steal fries from someone else's plate.

Bullet Journal / fine  liner pens in 48 colors

Light up cactus table lamp

dip holder for ranch, cheese, ketchup that hooks onto a plate

DIY / Make Your Own Bath Bombs

A fidget Cube

Magnetic Putty

A hammock for outside (or one with a stand for their room)

And adult workout jump rope

A nice auto seal water bottle

A wireless doorbell for their room.  There was a girl I went to college with who had one for her dorm room and everyone thought she was the coolest!

A bed shelf

Monday, November 16, 2020

Giveaway -- Sweepstakes Wins Record Book Ends 11/23/2020

 FTC disclaimer: This Post contains affiliate links

Back in 1998, I discovered sweepstakes thanks to a coupon site I visited.  I wish I had started keeping track then of things I had won in sweepstakes and giveaways and freebies I received, but I didn't.

I decided it would be a great giveaway to give one of my lucky readers a Sweepstakes Wins Record Book.  This would be a great gift for yourself or anyone who loves to enter contests.  It is under $10 at Amazon, and would make a great stocking stuffer

It is 100 pages long and has a chart on each page where you can put the date of your win, what the win is, the sponsor, and value!  

Giveaway is open to the USA only (APO and FPO addresses are welcome as
well. ) Winner has 48 hours to respond to the e-mail.  Must be 18 to enter.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Our Family Tradition for the First Snowfall

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I have become so tired of hearing the words "unprecedented" and "things might look a little different this year", but the truth is, 2020 has not been a fun year for anyone.  So, this might be just the time to begin a new family tradition.

I've been able to share this with other families, and it has become a favorite.

I remember when I was little maybe about 4 or 5, Mom came into my bedroom in the middle of the night to wake me up.  I asked her what was going on.  She told me to go look outside.  

The house I grew up in had a huge picture window.  While it sounds lovely, the truth was we were on the main road of a town of 1500.  Privacy curtains weren't really a thing in the 1970s and 1980s, and we had different people tell us over the years how they would stand on the sidewalk outside our walk and watch TV (with no sound) over the years.  So everyone could see inside.

But this night, the picture window was almost magical.  Outside were the biggest, fattest snowflakes I have ever seen coming down.  There was a streetlight right outside our house, and it illuminated them into something magical to a small child.

While I sat mesmerized by the show, my mother headed to the kitchen.  She made some popcorn (this was in the days you had to make it on the stove) and hot chocolate.  She brought the bowl to me while I was sitting backwards on the couch so I could watch nature's display.  The hot chocolate was sipped silently by the two of us until we finished our literal mid-night snack and I headed back to bed.

That began the tradition of every year popcorn and hot chocolate at the first snow.  It's a simple tradition, but one that I still look forward to every year.  I oft make hot chocolate in the Keurig, but I keep a 40 count assortment of flavors on hand to be able to make it a little more special.  I also keep a package of Abuelta hot cocoa on hand for special occasions.  This is a Latino favorite with some cinnamon in the beverage and the best hot chocolate I've ever indulged in -- and it's priced right, too.  Just over $3 for a package of 6 tablets (makes 4 cups each).  

It's been over 40 years since I sat at that picture window and watched with wide eyed wonder as snowflakes drifted to the ground.  I'm looking forward to when my neice is old enough that I can share this tradition with her.  Although, I'm sure at first we'll have to eat graham crackers for safety reasons, but the sentiment and love will still be in our celebration.

If you are curious about the cup in the photo above, it is a Starbucks cup I bought off eBay.  I spent a summer teaching English in Asia before Starbucks was much of a thing, so while I usually only buy mugs on location, I wanted one from where I had spent a summer!  It is the mug I used for this year's first snowfall tradition.




Thursday, November 12, 2020

Amazing Cash Back Deal! Spend $40 get $40 back!

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Whenever I shop online I always try to go through a cash back site.  I joined eBates (now Rakuten) years ago, and my cash back from just that site is over $700 in the last ten years.  If you start your shopping there, you can get a small amount of cash back.  There are sites like Kohls (and who doesn't love saving at Kohls?).  There are other big stores like eBay, Macy's Target, Ulta, Old Navy, Chewy, and plenty more.

But this is huge news

If you are a new Rakuten member and join between now and December 25, you can get $40 cash back when you spend $40 at any of their stores.

That's right, that's a whole Christmas gift free!  Or if you sell on eBay, you could use it for free shipping supplies if you order through a place like Office Depot.

This offer is REALLY easy to use.  Just SIGN UP FOR RAKUTEN and start your shopping from their site and spend $40.  Their payout date would likely be February 15, and who can't use extra cash anytime, but especially in February?

So, this is a way to make that LOL Surprise more able to fit in the budget, or be able to put the latest American Girl Doll under the tree this year!

Of course, you could also use it for things like groceries at walmart.com so what are you waiting for?  Join today!


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veteran's Day Memories from the 1980s -- The Christmas Shopping Season Kickoff


 When I was growing up in the late 70s and early 80s, there was no "Black Friday" as we know it today.  What my family did was, since my aunt worked in a bank and had Veteran's Day off, that was the beginning of our shopping season.

When I was five or six, I asked for money to buy Christmas gifts for everyone.  My mother gave me $20 (probably about $50 today).  Even so, that doesn't go far when you are buying for 10 people.  The mall that year had artists in the middle kiosks, and there was a man who crafted things from seashells.  They were priced right and I bought several for people on my list.  I asked my mom to buy me a small amount of pipe tobacco for my uncle, and the hardest person to buy for was Papaw.  So I left his gift for last, and in so doing, I had under $1 to spend.  I found the best gift ever for him at the grocery store -- he drank coffee all day, and I can remember his dress shoes clipping from the table to the coffee pot for refils, so in my six year old mind, the perfect gift was a trial sized container of Taster's Choice coffee for 29 cents.  The great thing is, that gift went down in legend, and when I was a senior in high school, I gave him a larger container of coffee and said that was the rest of his gift from when I was 6.  Everyone had a great laugh about that.

Another year, I was still very little, probably still in Kindergarten, and my mother had always warned me about germs, not to use combs that belonged to other kids at school, and was a bit overprotective about my health.  She had somehow burnt her hand badly on the toaster.  I remember I was terrified of her hand, not understanding how germs and contagion worked.  After going to the mall and Hills, my aunt, cousin and I stopped for dinner at Long John Silver's.  I always ordered the Billy Boneless chicken meal for kids.  There wasn't a toy with it, but there was a treasure chest where they would give you a coin, and you would get a bubblegum machine type prize from the chest.  I remember Mom touching one of my hush puppies.  I was terrified I would catch her burn (it looked terrible.). I don't remember how I reacted except I didn't want to eat the hush puppy thinking it would turn my skin looking like hers.  I do remember that she told me how bratty I acted and how embarrassing it was, and I got spanked when we got home.  I remember thinking how it was unfair but worth it so that I wouldn't look like her burn all over my body.

When I was eight or nine, my aunt bought an old Scout.  I can't remember if it was my cousin or me (probably me) who named it "The Old Blue Heap".  I think she bought it in part to show her ex husband how poor she was as much as having a car her teenage daughter couldn't whip around town too fast in it.  Well, since we live in West Virginia, there are a lot of hills everywhere.  When we were going up a hill in the next town there was this man running along the Scout waving.  We all turned and waved to him.  Then we saw him still waving.  We thought he was being friendly, so we waved again.  He continued to run along side us and we hit one of the only stoplights in the town.  He was huffing and puffing and signaled for us to roll down the window.  I think it was the gas tank that was dragging on the ground.  Whatever the case, we had to go home, and since everything was closed that day, we just went to go shopping in our car, not my aunt's vehicle.

One of the last times I remember Veteran's Day shopping, my aunt decided we were going to go to the big mall in Pittsburgh.  She and my mother were country girls and hated to drive in the "city" of 35,000 that is an hour away from where they grew up.  So, that year instead of Mom going along, it was my aunt, her ex-husband, my cousin, and me.  We made my second trip to Pittsburgh (2 1/2 hours away -- my first trip was in first grade when we went on a field trip to the zoo and our bus broke down on the way home.). The mall was amazing to me as a 10 year old from a town of about 1500.  There were escalators, which looked fun, but I was actually terrified of them!  Mom had been trying to get me to find a pair of boots for a long time as we lived in the snowiest town in West Virginia, but it wasn't until we were at that mall that I found a pair -- moon boots.  My aunt questioned me -- was I SURE my mother would be okay with them?  I told her Mom would just be happy I bought boots.  Sure enough, that's what I heard my mother say into the phone later.  

That is the last Veteran's Day Christmas shopping kickoff I remember.  My cousin graduated high school that next spring and for whatever reason our tradition wasn't continued.  I always think of Veteran's Day as when the shopping season begins.  Some people think it's too early to think Christmas, but that's when we started storing gifts in closets and in others' homes until the tree would go up in December and the secret surprises could be wrapped and tucked beneath the twinkling tree.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Free Thanksgiving Dinner November 2020!

 FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Right now, iBotta has a FREE Thanksgiving dinner when you purchase it at Walmart.  It is no secret that I love iBotta, especially with the Walmart pick up.  Just link your accounts and order for pick up and your money earned goes into your iBotta account with no scanning barcodes or snapping receipts.  I've gotten almost $500 back this year alone, thanks to offers such as $2 back on Morningstar Farm sausages.  I'm not a big meat eater and I'm less picky about meat if it's plant based, so a package of 6 vegetarian sausages for $1.37 is a deal I will snag as often as it is in my account -- and most times I can get five at once -- and since I use it, similar deals often pop up.

I was thrilled this month when iBotta offered a FREE Thanksgiving dinner.  You need to join iBotta, then download the chrome extension.  It sounds like a lot of work, but it's really quick to do for  $20 of free groceries -- a 3 pound turkey breast, a two liter of Coca-Cola, French's Onions, gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, a box of stuffing, cream of mushroom soup, and family sized mashed potatoes.  (The stuffing isn't pictured in my photo because Walmart was out of it, but it's still in my account for next time I do a grocery pick up.)

Another thing I love about iBotta is you pay out of pocket then have the money refunded to you.  So I use whatever credit card I have that is best for groceries, and earn points on money that I get back! 

To receive your money from iBotta, you have options of getting a gift card to Amazon, money into your Paypal account, or directly into your bank account.

If you aren't going to need these things yourself, this is a great deal to do and donate to someone who can't afford it.  I remember what it was like to not be able to afford a turkey at Christmas or Thanksgiving before I got into couponing, and I know it would be greatly appreciated by some people, especially with the pandemic and people being out of work.




Sunday, November 8, 2020

Giveaway! The Power of a Praying Woman book in imitation leather

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 It's been a long time since I've done a giveaway on my blog.  I'm going to try and start blogging more often, so I thought it would be good to get some interest again with a few giveaways.

This week I am giving away a copy of The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian.  I received this in the Butterfly Box I reviewed recently and I already have a copy of this book.  This edition I am giving away is an imitation leather, teal colored.  It has a ribbon bookmark.  It would make a great Christmas gift!  

This giveaway is open to the USA and APO / FPO addresses.  You must be 18 or older to enter, and ends November 16 at 11:59 pm Eastern.  

There are many ways to gain entries.  Have fun, and good luck!