In this episode we discuss the best gift ideas for kids that don’t have to be expensive to be enjoyed. Brian recalls the year he got walkie-talkies and Jami remembers how much she loved Barbies, but somehow that gene didn’t get passed down to the next generation. We look at each category of toys, books, games, and other kinds of gifts that have stood the test of time. In the food segment, we reminisce about recipes that were our favorites growing up and are still loved by everyone today – like “monster” pancakes. Plus, Brian gives way too much detail on how to make Sun Tea and Jami reveals the ultimate lip product in our This Is Cool segment.
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Gift Ideas for Kids
We had such fun remembering the gifts our kids and their friends enjoyed most over the years. There really are some toys, books, and other items that stand the test of time and are used again and again. Guys, we speak from experience here – this isn’t just us saying, “hey, our kids really enjoyed this last year.” We’re saying, these are the things they enjoyed for years. Come to think of it, categories like art supplies, games, and books they still enjoy!
We think the 10 best gift ideas for kids are:
#1 gift by far: LEGOS of all kinds. Hours upon hours of play – a parent’s dream, right?
#2 gift for our kids: books! Sometimes they’d stop in the middle of opening gifts at birthdays or holidays and just start reading a new book. We loved exploring the world of kids and young adult books with them through the years!
- Magic Tree House
- Berenstain Bears
- Thomas the Tank Engine
- Little House on the Prairie – good price on the set!
- Redwall series
- Harry Potter series
- Chronicles of Narnia – another great deal on a paperback set!
- Roald Dahl books (like James and the Giant Peach, BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
- Anne of Green Gables series
- Sherlock Holmes books
8 other gifts we talked about:
- Brio (and Brio compatible) wooden train tracks (and Thomas The Tank Engine engines)
- Klutz books (Paper Airplanes, Cat’s Cradle, and Mini Pom Pom Pets were favs)
- Games: Battleship and Dog Monopoly (or “Dog-opoly” now)
- handheld game player (gameboy)
- Wii (we bought ours used off of Craigslist)
- Kindle Paperwhite readers (and ‘of course’ gift for book lovers)
- Art supplies
Find a lot more tried and true gift ideas in these gift guides for both kids and teens – all ages, likes and budgets.
We talked about some of the recipes we remembered from our childhood and still enjoy. Brian mentioned the “monster pancakes” his mom would make that has become a tradition for all of the family get-togethers since. Most people know them by the name Dutch Babies – but naming them something known only to the family is even more special, isn’t it?
The basic recipe the family uses is:
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup flour
- Lemon wedges
- Powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 425F. Add butter to a 10″ cast iron skillet or heavy baking dish and place in oven while preheating to melt – watch carefully and remove the pan before butter starts to brown.
- In a blender beat the eggs, milk, and flour until smooth. Pour into melted butter in hot skillet and return to the oven for 20-25 minutes, until browning and puffed (aka “monster”).
- Serve immediately with lemon wedges and bowls of powdered sugar.
Jami’s grandma always said she wasn’t much of a cook, but one of her recipes was loved and requested by everyone in the family – and has made it onto the blog – Grandma’s Tasty Rice. If you think it’s “just rice” give it a try (it’s so easy, anyone can make it!) and you’ll understand why it’s famous (well, at least among us!).
This is Really Cool!
Brian: “No-Sun” Sun Tea went from good to AH-mazing with Trader Joe’s Irish Breakfast tea
– And here is Brian’s tongue-in-cheek “guest post” about making Oregon Sun Tea in “just” 10 easy steps.
Jami: Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink lip stain in Lover – seriously SO good (and I’m not even a ‘makeup person’).
For more ideas of ways to strengthen and build your family, check out this list of family traditions built by Jami and AOC’s readers:
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