100 gifts that are (almost) always a hit with kids

I’m not a recreational shopper typically, but I enjoy choosing gifts from my loved ones that they will enjoy. It’s a chance to think about them more deeply and a reminder to pay attention to what brings them pleasure. For kids, especially if you live far from them, this can be hard. Here is my go-to list for fun presents to send to kids. Of course, it’s best if you select what the children in your life have shown you that they love, and you should know that the adults who spend time with them will appreciate it too; no one wants to give a gift that will feel like a burden. Here are our ideas, and we’d love to hear yours!

  1. construction paper
  2. scissors with funky edges 
  3. glue sticks of different colors
  4. scented crayons or markers
  5. high-end colored pencils
  6. art pencils and a high quality eraser
  7. gel pens or Sharpies
  8. an art easel
  9. sketch books of various sizes
  10. a satchel for carrying art supplies
  11. cannisters for art supplies
  12. an electric pencil sharpener
  13. a high quality journal
  14. a journal with a lock and key
  15. a coin counting piggy bank
  16. a ceramic bank of a favorite animal
  17. a small safe
  18. a lockbox with a key
  19. a fireproof envelope for special documents
  20. a photo album with pictures of them
  21. a time capsule for them to make
  22. a time capsule with things about them inside
  23. fuzzy socks
  24. funny socks
  25. new mittens with clips to hang them on their coat
  26. gloves that can work with a touch screen
  27. long johns or footie pajamas
  28. a body pillow or a boyfriend pillow
  29. a bean bag chair 
  30. a book lamp
  31. a handcrank flashlight
  32. a handcrank radio
  33. a water bottle, mug, thermos, or travel mug
  34. fruit leather
  35. dehydrated strawberries or raspberries
  36. kumquats
  37. cheddar cheese or caramel popcorn
  38. snack food from another country
  39. movie theater sized boxes of candy
  40. walkie talkies
  41. a tent
  42. a hammock
  43. a canteen
  44. a sleeping bag
  45. a humidifier that uses essential oils, plus some oils
  46. nail polish
  47. Working Hands hand cream
  48. mud masks
  49. lip gloss
  50. lip balm
  51. shaving supplies
  52. a roll of quarters to use in vending machines
  53. a monogrammed apron 
  54. a kid-sized suitcase
  55. a wallet
  56. a purse
  57. a magazine subscription
  58. fancy stationary
  59. post card stamps
  60. hard-to-find candies or sodas
  61. vegan beef jerky
  62. an age-appropriate cookbook
  63. an address book filled out with addresses you know they will want
  64. a perpetual calendar where they can write birthdays of friends
  65. a pop socket
  66. a magnetic phone mount (for those old enough to drive)
  67. a power bank
  68. a very fancy bookmark
  69. Stretch Armstrong and his dog Fetch Armstrong
  70. the book that won this year’s Caldecott, Newberry, Coretta Scott King, Batchelder (for foreign language book translated into English), Geisel Medal, Belpre Medal, Odyssey, Hornbook, Ezra Jack Keats, Charlotte Zolotow, or Hornbook awards
  71. a pop-up tunnel for use inside
  72. a swing
  73. a “flexible flyer” style sled
  74. a red runner sled
  75. a toboggan 
  76. a snow tube sled
  77. a record player with records
  78. the board game that won this year’s Game of the Year
  79. retro games for their current game system
  80. Rubik’s cube
  81. Dutch Blitz
  82. Parcheesi or another classic game they don’t have
  83. Uno or, if they already have it, Skip Bo or Duo
  84. a small electric blanket
  85. a water bottle or rice bag that you heat and put in your bed
  86. new sheets with their favorite characters on them
  87. a houseplant
  88. a birdhouse, bird feeder with food or a suet feeder, or bird bath
  89. a bat house
  90. a new soccer or basketball with air pump, if they don’t already have one
  91. a yoga ball or a yoga mat
  92. a fun night light
  93. an alarm clock
  94. a new percussion instrument, like jingle bells or claves or a woodblock or hand drums
  95. unusual teas and a tea strainer
  96. spice mixes for popcorn
  97. a pocketknife, Swiss army knife, or leatherman
  98. a microscope
  99. a telescope
  100. binoculars
Above, our tree on the night before Christmas, 2020.

Children’s Time: Add some salt!

In this children’s time, we explore what Jesus might have meant said, ” “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.'” Expect to learn some new facts about salt–and a method for working through metaphors and similes that children can start to practice on their own.

Children’s Time: “How Smudge Came” by Nan Gregory and Ron Lightburn

The gentle illustrations in this children’s book soften the story a bit, which may invoke complex emotions. Cindy’s friends are inspired by how much she loves and cares for her puppy. As you listen, pay attention to your feelings. When do you feel sad? worried? angry? What actions in the story make people feel safe and loved and respected?

In When Smudge Came, we see that Cindy’s friends at hospice show her love because she showed love to Smudge, which reminds me of this week’s lectionary reading: 1 John 4:7-21. Can you think of times when you were inspired to love others because someone loved you?

Some ways to enjoy leftover ham

Easter means ham, and that means leftover ham, which makes me very happy. At the request of a friend, I’m sharing some of our favorite ways to enjoy it:

  • Ham and cheese quiche. Swiss, cheddar, and muenster are all lovely. Use a potato crust if, like us, you’re meh on pastry crusts.
  • Macaroni and cheese with cubed ham. Make it fancy with asparagus (also an Easter leftover) and panko breadcrumbs on top.
  • Fry ham slices with onions and pierogies.
  • Breakfast cups. Shape biscuit dough into a cup in a muffin tin, then top with beaten eggs, ham, cheese, and ground pepper.
  • Ham loaf. Yes, I mean it.
  • Ham balls. A throwback recipe that pairs well with pineapple upside down cake and Kansas Public Radio’s Retro Cocktail Hour.
  • Ham salad. Variations are endless.
  • Potato hash. Use leftover boiled potatoes or shredded hashbrowns. Top with a jammy egg and a wilted bitter green like Swiss chard.
  • Fettuccine alfredo with cubed ham and peas.
  • Ham and potato soup–creamy, with crunchy bacon bits, sour cream, green onions, and cheddar cheese.
  • Boiled red potatoes, cubed ham, and green beans in Italian dressing, served warm or cold.
  • Ham and cheese scones.
  • Ham, egg, and cheese bierocks.
  • Grilled cheese with ham. Make it fancy with thinly sliced green apples.
  • Buttered egg noodles with cubed ham and asparagus.
  • Baked potatoes with ham, cheese, and broccoli.
  • Dutch pancake with ham and gravy.
  • Calzones with ham and ricotta
  • Black beans with cubed ham.
  • Scalloped potatoes with ham.
  • Pineapple and ham kabobs
  • Chef’s salad with ham, turkey, hard boiled eggs, and blue cheese

 

 

Sharing Box: 31 things we’re sharing in March

One of my favorite parts of my neighborhood is our Sharing Box, a small outdoor pantry where neighbors can put things to share and take what they need or want. It’s the perfect distance from our house for a walk with our dogs, and we go at least once a day.

In March, we’re working hard to add more items that women need or we think women might especially enjoy. Here are some things we’re sharing:

  1. menstrual care products
  2. favorite recipes on notecards
  3. small zippered bags for makeup
  4. lip gloss
  5. hand sanitizer
  6. masks
  7. nail polish
  8. recent magazines
  9. cooking utensils
  10. a baking dish
  11. hair ties
  12. bars of soap
  13. decorative candles
  14. craft supplies
  15. wrapping paper
  16. book of puzzles
  17. oil
  18. salt
  19. pepper and other spices
  20. Cuties
  21. grapefruit
  22. boxes of tea
  23. children’s books
  24. Vienna sausages
  25. granola bars
  26. individually-packaged cookies
  27. cheese-and-cracker packs
  28. juice boxes
  29. Pop-tarts
  30. individually wrapped bags of microwavable popcorn
  31. individual soda cans (provided it’s not freezing)
No photo description available.