Uncategorized

5 Gift Ideas for a Reader

This holiday season I am bringing you a two-part series of gift guides for the readers and writers in your life. In these posts, I am giving you recommendations for gifts of all sizes. Whether you are willing to spend $10 or $200 on your recipient, I’ve got you covered–and in plenty of time to make online orders.

As you consider what to buy the reader in your life, be mindful of helping them create an environment that allows for the mental escape that reading requires. By setting a scene that indulges all the body’s senses, readers can find themselves quickly thrust into the world and words of the pages in front of them. When you buy a gift for a reader, you are also buying them an experience, and showing them that you value their life as a reader.

I am not an affiliate for any of these items. All of these recommendations are things I genuinely enjoy and am choosing to share with you because I am so fond of them.

1. Books

This may be the most obvious of the gifts ideas, but if you are struggling to come up with a title for the reader in your life let me offer some suggestions:

  1. The Measure by Nikki Erlick (Bestseller)
  2. Verity by Colleen Hoover (Thriller)
  3. Book Lovers by Emily Henry (Romance)
  4. The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (Historical Fiction)
  5. Remember God by Annie F. Downs (Christian/Memoir)
  6. Good Boundaries and Good Byes by Lysa TerKeurst (Christian/Self-Help)
  7. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Bestseller)

2. Candles

Setting the scene for a quiet night of reading is one of my favorite ways to settle into a new book. I gather all of my comfort items and light a candle to set the ambiance. This weekend I went to a local Bath and Body Works to test their new Holiday scents for the 3-wick candles. Here are my favorites:

  1. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
  2. Frosted Cranberry
  3. Sugared Snickerdoodle
  4. Winter Candy Apple
  5. Fresh Flurries

3. Coffee

I’ve told you all about my favorite coffee brand before, but a fresh pot of Silverbridge coffee is another way that I like to awaken my senses as I settle into a comfy spot for a session of reading. This Ohio-based coffee company crafts unique flavors with strong and delicious aromas. My favorite flavors:

  1. Highlander Grogg
  2. Jamaican Me Crazy
  3. Snow Angel
  4. Cinnamon Sticky Bun
  5. Southern Pecan

4. Notebook

Not everyone likes to annotate as they read, but getting a beautiful notebook for the reader in your life is never a bad idea. I love to use a standard A4 notebook for journaling and notetaking. Barnes and Noble is one of my favorite online stationery shops. Many of the B&N stores are also increasing their inventory of all things a writer will love. My current favorite is this Book Lover XL Notebook from Studio Oh!

5. Noise Cancelling Headphones

In a world of noise and commotion, sometimes we need to drown out the things that try to take our peace and attention away from our reading moments. This is a more expensive gift idea, but if you are looking for quality, noise-cancelling headphones I cannot recommend the Beats Solo 3 enough. These are comfortable and amazing for setting a the mood for a tranquil reading session. Additionally, if your reader is more into audiobooks than hard copies, these can be a great way to listen without distraction.

Remember that when you buy for a reader, you are buying an experience. Your gift helps them transport into the pages of a book and walk around in another’s shoes for a bit. Consider how to best cultivate your reader’s scene by appealing to their senses–and the reader will be grateful for these thoughtful ways of providing them the peace and space for their entry into another world.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Teaching · Uncategorized

Holiday Pen Pals and a Letter Writing Challenge

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The art of letter writing may one day be obsolete.

With the changing tides of technology it is becoming increasingly rare to sit down with a pen and paper to craft a message for someone else. I love the ease with which communication is achieved via emails and social media, but there is something special about moving a pen across a page. We open up a little more when the words pour through the ink of the pen.

As a ninth grade teacher I see the impact of technology everyday. Most of the results are great, but one thing I notice is that the generation of students I am teaching struggle with articulating their thoughts in more than 280 characters. They think of communication as tweets, emails, and videos. And because of that I fear they are losing out on the authentic experience of written communication.

It is out of this observation (and a little help from author and teacher, Kelly Gallagher) that the idea of pen pals came to me.

Over the Holiday season my ninth grade students have all been assigned a student in my husband’s fourth grade class. Each of my students made a journal for their pen pal and wrote them a letter introducing themselves and asking questions.

In our first rounds of writing my husband and I both observed high levels of engagement among our students. Even those students who neglect assignments and perform poorly in writing exercises opened up in letters to their pen pals and offered them advice that helped us to see them in a different light.

Of course, we did establish some rules for these pen pal relationships. We wanted to make sure that conversations remained appropriate and we also wanted to keep privacy a priority so students know only the first name of their pen pal.

The opportunity to write to a REAL student excited my ninth grade classes. The day after the letters they authored were due they were already asking about when to expect a response. Many of them put a lot of effort into decorating and writing in the journals and eagerly looked forward to hearing back from their new friends.

I stated on Friday that I will be undertaking the challenge of writing one letter a day for the month of December. The motivation behind this challenge comes from witnessing the way my students long for this written form of communication. If you would like to join me in that challenge check out my post Deep: Five Minute Friday and let me know in the comments.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Fashion · Uncategorized

Last Minute Gift Guide

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Six days and counting until the BIG morning. I envy each and every one of you who have finished all of your purchases (not to mention those over achievers out there who have already wrapped your gifts too!)

If your family is anything like mine the next six days will be full of fun gathered with the people you love. Christmas dinners. Church programs. Caroling. Holiday parties with friends. All of these precious moments are truly the reason for the season. One thing that shouldn’t get in the way of these celebrations is the daunting list of gifts that may still need to be purchased.

A quick way to take care of those fashion lovers in your life is to give them the gift of style. Ordering a Stitch Fix gift card takes only a few minutes and the digital gift card will appear in your email inbox.

You can give a gift card to someone who is currently enrolled in the Stitch Fix program or you can provide an opportunity for someone to try it for the very first time. With a Stitch Fix gift card you are allowing your loved ones to create their own style from the selection of informed stylists.

As we head into the final stretch of this Christmas season don’t let gift giving be a stressor. Use my link to the Stitch Fix website and select the gift card option in the upper right hand corner. Ever since I started with Stitch Fix I have been pleased with my shipments and now that I am a Stitch Fix Influencer I may receive compensation for your purchases and for spreading the love of fashion to those of you who cross paths with me in the blogosphere.

Whatever you decide to give this Holiday Season I hope you do so with love and that you remember that the reason for this season isn’t the decking of the halls, the expenses gifts, or the football games, but rather the celebration of the things most dear to our hearts.

Merry Christmas,

The Ameri Brit Mom 

Gluten-free/Paleo · Uncategorized

Christmas Crack

A few weeks ago I was dreading the Holiday season as it applies to being gluten-free. Inevitably I would receive invitations to parties with tables filled with baked goods. (Cake, why must you tempt me so?) I’ve been on the prowl for a good gluten-free recipe to use as my go to this season. I’ve tried cookie and cupcake recipes, but I’ve been hard pressed to find one I really like and that I’d be willing to share with others.

This weekend we hosted a game night. This is a somewhat new thing in our family, but we are hoping to form a habit with some of our friends where we get together and play games once a month.

I spent days trying to find a recipe for a Christmas snack to offer at game night. Then, my sister solved my problem when she offered, “Why not make Christmas Crack?” I felt so silly. I was trying to think of some elaborate, brand new recipe when Christmas Crack has been a favorite for years. I love to make and eat this treat every year and all it needed was a small tweak to make it gf friendly.

It was a huge hit at the party by the way. Luckily, I saved back a bag for my family to munch on throughout the week, because my festive Christmas tin was empty by the final hand of Dutch Blitz.

Below is the recipe for gluten free Christmas Crack. Feel free to add pretzels if you are not confined to a gf diet.

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Ingredients: 

-1/2 box of Rice Chex cereal

-1/2 box of Cheerios

-2 bags of Nestle white chocolate chips

-1 bag of M&Ms

-Wax paper

 

Directions: 

  1. Lay two long sheets of wax paper across a table
  2. Dump bags of white chocolate chips into a large bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave (in 20 second increments being sure to stir after each set of 20 seconds and DO NOT LET THEM BURN.)
  3. Once the chocolate is smooth and completed melted through, quickly add both cereals and the candy to the bowl. Mix to cover all evenly.
  4. Pour the contents of the bowl onto the wax paper. Spread the contents into a thin layer.
  5. Let sit for 20-30 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened.
  6. Break the mixture into small, bite sized pieces and place into a festive Christmas tin or large Ziplock bag.

This stuff is called Christmas Crack for a reason, people–it’s pretty addictive. Eat at your own risk and enjoy!

The Ameri Brit Mom

DIY · Uncategorized

Holiday Door

Our family tradition is to deck the halls on Black Friday.

We spend the weekend following Thanksgiving putting up the tree and setting out our annual decor. Each year we like to buy one or two new pieces to add to our collection and we also enjoy decorating our front door.

This year we decided to take on a painting project. My daughter is pretty artistic and loves any excuse to use paint, and my husband is fairly crafty as well. We went to the nearest craft shop and purchased everything we would need to make giant ornaments to be hung on the front door. Each of us completed our own giant bulb which we made from Wilton cake boards. We went with a simple color scheme of red, green, and blue and each of us chose a different inspiration for our creation.

Once dry, we fastened the bulbs to the door using 3m hooks and red ribbon. We wanted them to all dangle at different heights so we varied the length of the ribbon to give it that look.

I really love my front door. It may not be a page out of the Pottery Barn catalog, but we took the time to put each of our personalities into the finished product. I love my unique front door this holiday season.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

Fashion · Uncategorized

Stitch Fix Gift Cards!

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I’m full of all the good intentions in the world.

As soon as the first frost hits I immediately begin to think about Christmas. Every holiday season I aim to get all of my gifts purchased well in advance so that the pressures to get it all done never overshadow the most wonderful time of the year. I don’t want to trade caroling, crafting, or spending time with family to stand in long lines at retailers. Like many of you, those aspirations of finishing my shopping before Thanksgiving never really play out. In part, because I’m a pressure-prompted person, but also in part to the number of shopping trips it takes to make sure everyone on my list receives exactly what they want.

That’s why I’m so excited about the new gift cards available from Stitch Fix this season.

All it takes is a few clicks and many of my fashion-conscious friends are taken care of. Each person who receives a gift card can choose to use it on pieces they like from future Stitch Fixes. Also, if you have a friend who has mentioned wanting to try Stitch Fix you can jump start their signup with some money in their account. They will still need to fill out a Style Profile, but the money from their gift card will be credited to them once they get set up.

Just in time for the Holiday season, Stitch Fix Men has launched. Now the men in your life can embrace the Stitch Fix experience. Gift cards can also be applied to Men accounts.

Since I started with Stitch Fix last fall, I’ve been pleased with every facet of the company. I’ve loved nearly every piece that has made its way to my home in the cute little box. Recently, I’ve been given the opportunity to earn some money to share my love for Stitch Fix and its products through the Influencer program. While I may be compensated to write this post, I am genuinely excited about the chance to spread Christmas cheer this year through the gift of Stitch Fix.

In order to purchase a gift card please use my hyperlink or click the image in the margin of my blog (doing so gives me referral credit which will lead to monetary compensation.)

Before we know it, Christmas will be here. Will you be ready?

The Ameri Brit Mom

DIY · Uncategorized

Scally on the Loose

This Christmas season has been exciting and full of surprises. Arianna is three and loving everything about Christmas preparations. She enjoys picking out presents for her family members. During the annual tree decorating she took charge and told us where to hang each of her special ornaments. Each day when I pick her up from the sitter she requests a jam session to the local Christmas Radio Station for the car ride home. And she has been absolutely tickled by our introduction of Elf on the Shelf to this year’s festivities.

Her elf made an appearance for the first time on the day after Thanksgiving and without skipping a beat Arianna named the elf, “Scally, because it’s short for Scalawag.” Okay, maybe we need to start limiting Jake the Pirate in this house.

That night, Scally left Arianna a note and explained that every night while Arianna is asleep Scally goes to the North Pole and reports to Santa about her. She will return just before the sun rises and then will be frozen wherever she is and fall asleep. All of us (mom and dad included) have had a blast keeping this little story alive for Arianna. Each morning she awakes with excitement and searches the house high and low for her new elf friend. I thought I would share some photos of what our elf has been up to.

There are some super creative ideas out there on Pinterest and I’m excited to get a little more crafty once I’m out of school for Christmas break. Two more weeks!!!