Hi.

Welcome to my place.

I write about about being a 40-something mum of five wonderfully exasperating children, attachment parenting, my adventures in the kitchen, and whatever else comes to mind. 

-Melissa.

Great Gifts Under $30!*

Dark Brown Leather Mini Journal - handbound ($20)
Dark Brown Leather Mini Journal - handbound ($20)

Lots of folks are feeling the pinch this year when it comes to holiday spending. Here are some great gift items for under $30 that are functional, stylish, and unique. Make them stand out even more by pairing them with something homemade! 1. I love paper products and fancy pens. Last year I picked out one for a friend from My Handbound Books on Etsy. These books are handmade in Nova Scotia and are really gorgeous. Each one is a unique little piece of art, ranging in price from $10.99 for a wee little journal, to $30.00+ for larger journals and weekly planners.

2. Books are always a great choice, and Chapters Indigo has great bargain books for a fraction of their original price ($3.99 - up). I love getting a stack of books for Christmas and prices like these make it happen!

Standard Clear Bell Rattle - Maple Landmark
Standard Clear Bell Rattle - Maple Landmark

3. A Maple Landmark rattle ($10 - $16) is on my wish list for Boy#3 -- he'll probably find one in his stocking Christmas morning! These rattles are made by hand in North America, using North American wood.

Playmobil Feeding Station ($29.99)
Playmobil Feeding Station ($29.99)

4. For any new babies on your list, Padraig makes adorable newborn booties ($20), as well as sizes suitable for bigger kids ($30) -- handmade in British Columbia and lined with soft sheepskin, these will keep those teeny tiny toes toasty in our cold Canadian winter!

5. I love Playmobil and Ottawa has a great source for amazing deals on discontinued Playmobil sets! PlayValue is the one toy store I visit every year for stocking stuffers, and the "big gift". They have lots of great options for under $30.00!

6. Magazine subscriptions are a gift that gives all year long -- kids, especially, love the excitement of monthly mail "just for them". There are lots of great magazines available for less than $30/year, and many offer holiday savings for new subscriptions. Examples: Canada's History ($29.95), YES Mag ($25.00), The Walrus ($29.75)

Thermos Vacuum Insulated Tumbler - Midnight Blue
Thermos Vacuum Insulated Tumbler - Midnight Blue

7. A sturdy Thermos Insulated Travel Tumbler ($25.99) will cheer up anyone's morning commute! Make it extra special by pairing it with some fabulous coffee beans, homemade hot chocolate mix, or some hand-blended teas (made by you)!

8. Give the gift of a night out! Empire Theatres has a holiday promotion on, giving $30 of theatre coupons with every purchase of $30 in theatre gift cards. I think this is a particularly thoughtful present for families -- it's expensive to get out to a movie with all the kids. Gift the cards and coupons together for a fabulous holiday surprise!

Winter Lager Beer Soap
Winter Lager Beer Soap

9. Have a guy on your list who's hard to buy for? No worries! The Beer Soap Company has a great selection of handcrafted artisan soaps ($5 - $7) to offer, each made using a different type of beer. Pick some of his favorites or buy him a 6-pack ($25)! These soaps smell fantastic -- pair them with a matching bottle of beer for a truly personal touch!

Thermos Brand ROHO Hydration Bottles
Thermos Brand ROHO Hydration Bottles

10. Thermos ROHO hydration bottle ($14.99 CDN): These dishwasher-safe stainless steel water bottles come in a great line of fun and funky prints, suiting everyone from kids to adults. The press-button lid makes it easy to drink on the go and the extra-long neck makes it easier to hold onto than similar water bottles I own and use.

*Disclosure: In the past, I have received products from a couple of the companies featured in this list in exchange for review. This did not affect my decision to feature them here. Products featured in this gift guide are here because I think they're great and are items I, personally, would enjoy giving or receiving as gifts!

Recipe: War Cake

Recipe: War Cake

Homemade Holidays