Tag Archives: top Christmas gifts 2013

Shirley J Mugging Gift Set

IMG_4893Hey everyone!  If you are ever in need of a quick sweet snack, you’ll wanna try Shirley J’s awesome Muggings!  Not only are her mugs adorable, the mixes are super tasty too!  We’ve tried all the ones pictured, not all at once though we did run out way too quickly…  Well, all except those two that I may or may not have ‘forgotten’ back for a ZooKeeper Pick Me Up Day!  These are great to have on hand for a quick snack, easy dessert or just a good sweet fix!  I think they’d be amazing gifts for college students too!  You can add things to the mixes or enjoy them as they come, either way you are gonna love having these on hand!  There are plenty of ‘in a mug’ recipes online, but I don’t think they hold a candle to these!  My absolute favorite was the Chocolate Brownie Cake!  I added some peanut butter chips to it and was in a momentary heaven on earth for a bit!  It hit the spot, that’s for sure!

IMG_4926We really loved the mugs, too.  Santa’s Mustache was quickly Monkey’s favorite and I am a sucker for a snowflake!  They are huge, so they’ve also become my favorite coffee cups as well!  Perfect for hot chocolate!  With all the mugging going on, it will be your new favorite baking mugging dish!  A quick couple of minutes in the microwave and you’ve got a piping hot cobbler, cake or even no-pan pancake ready to go!  They have one recipe that is gluten free also!  I’ve noticed lately that gluten free is getting quite big these days!

Let me just say, if I can get Monkey to type her thoughts on something, it must be good!  Writing is not her favorite thing, nor does she want to excel at it.  LOL.  So, to show you how wonderful she thought they were, here’s what she wrote:

Monkey’s ThoughtsIMG_4924

The “Shirley J ‘S Mugging” ‘chocolate brownie cake’ was a very tasty treat. It actually tasted like a hot chocolate cake. It could be baked a little bit more but thats the only problem i had. i added some white  chocolate chips and they added some gooeyness. I suggest to get some icing for regular cakes and putting it on the brownie cake.

And it was good it had a profound taste and I felt like I was eating at a fancy restaurant!

Where to Find Shirley J








The Sparkle Box


Let me start this review with a confession: I had heard of this book before.  Last year, somewhere around Christmas, I heard an interview with the author on Focus on The Family.  It really touched my heart and I’ve literally thought about it all year long.  The author’s goal seemed to truly be the lesson the book teaches: to give to others.

It is not often that I am inspired by a children’s book.  I read the book in order to do the review and had to force myself to come in and write.  Not because the task is so daunting, but because the book has me so inspired I don’t want to sit down and write.  I want to do something.  Anything.  Make bread for the shelters, donate, something!  Not simply to fill a box, but to make a difference in someone’s life.  One of my favorite scriptures, and one my husband and I remind each other of constantly is this:  “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  Matthew 25:40 KJV. 

This book will not only teach your children the joy of helping others, but it will make you want to go out and help someone else, anyone else.  My family has taught me throughout the years to help others.  Even my little brother who seems to be on a poor attempt at running from God has reminded me through his actions to do whatever I can to help others.  When we were kids we went through a period where our Mom couldn’t afford to pay the bills, much less provide for Christmas.  That year, a man we had never heard of, came to our home with a basket of fruit and a gift for my brother and I.  I don’t remember what my brother got, but I got a curling iron gift set.  I’ve never been a girly girl, don’t even know if I ever actually used that set, but what I do know is that I hold that as one of my fondest memories.  It was a great lesson and has been a constant inspiration for me to help others throughout my life.  Granted, I don’t wish that upon anyone, but the lesson could never be the same.  The closest I’ve seen to something teaching this lesson is this book.

About The Sparkle Box 

A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas

Sam is so excited about Christmas! He’s thinking about his Christmas list, looking forward to holiday parties, and puzzling over one very mysterious gift: a sparkly box sitting on the mantel. In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family’s good deeds. Sam’s mom explains that the things that they’ve been doing are, in fact, a gift for Jesus, for Jesus said that whatever we do for those in need, we do for Him.

Author Bio

Author Jill Hardie and her family began placing a gift for Jesus under their Christmas tree as a way of bringing more meaning to the holiday.  The first time they opened His gift, the commercialism of the season melted away and they felt a profound joy and peace.  Jill hopes that The Sparkle Box will spark a new Christmas tradition, bringing light into thousands of lives.

Illustrator Bio

At a very early age, Christine Kornacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life.  After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children’s books began to take shape.  She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut.

Find It!


Buy It

Book Trailer

Author Video




Must leave a physical address.  However, if you are a military family and have an APO, I will personally ship it to you if you win, so go ahead and enter!

World Vision: Helping All Around the World

IMG_4771What if you truly could make a difference but the catch was you would never actually see the results?  Would you do it?  Would you step out in faith, obeying that call and overcoming your self doubt?  Often donating to charities are this way, you know what their cause is but you don’t ever see result in person.  I feel like that is exactly what we are called to do.  We are to step up and do the right thing, whether we can see a great difference or we will never truly know.  Sometimes, it’s not about anything we thought.

World Vision is a not for profit group that helps children and families to step closer to overcoming poverty in 100 countries, including the US.  There is a saying about teaching a man to fish so that he might be able to provide himself food forever.  I’m sure that you’ve all heard it, it seems to be everywhere!   Through World Vision, you can buy families farm animals, help them with wells, help pay for basic education, or even go literal with it and pay for a fishing kit for someone.  The skills they learn don’t just help them for a year or two, they help the local economies and help families turn desperate situations to journeys of hope.  You can donate any amount, no one will be upset if you can only donate a small amount, as every donation counts.

An amazing gift you can give someone who has everything is a donation in their honor.  You’ll get a little card about what you donated telling the story of how it will help or you can order from their gift catalog and get a free gift by donating to the maximum impact fund.  The gifts that are available are amazing and all are hand made!

We hope that you’ll take a moment this holiday season and donate to something a little more important than lining the pockets of corporations.  Make a purchase that will effect a lifetime, not be put in the back of the closet, lost, or broken.  A purchase that will change lives, perhaps even yours.

Ornament Set

Find ‘Em Here






Audrey Bunny: A Great Kid’s Story Book

Audrey_Bunny_coverI must really be getting soft these days because Audrey Bunny almost made me cry.  LOL.  It’s such a sweet story!  It reminds us all that those little flaws we fear are sometimes just what other people love about us!  Audrey Bunny is a beautiful story about a bunny who had an imperfection which made her feel like she could never be loved.  A very good reminder of how we are so very loved!

Included in the book is a Parent Connection in the back so that you can interact with your child a little more about the story.  It shares some good talking points and I think that any little girl would love to have this book read to them over and over again!  It will keep you all grounded in knowing that you are special, no matter what flaw you think makes you unlovable you are not!  I think that this story is a great confidence builder and is especially great to help with insecurities!

Audrey Bunny

From best-selling women’s author Angie Smith (I Will Carry You, Mended) comes this sweet children’s book about a stuffed animal named Audrey Bunny who fears her imperfections make her unworthy of a little girl’s love. She’ll learn the truth soon enough, and young readers will learn that everyone is special and wonderfully made by God.

About the Author

Angie Smith is the wife of Todd Smith (lead singer of Dove Award winning group Selah), best-selling author of MendedI Will Carry You, and What Women Fear, and one of the most popular speakers and blog writers in the country. She holds a Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Vanderbilt University and lives with her husband and daughters in Nashville, TN.


Written by: Angie Smith

Publisher: B&H Publishing

Hardcover with jacket:  32 pages
Release Date: October 1, 2013

Where to Find It

Publisher (Buy The Book!)





Fruit Tote with Teether Toys


Where is the first place every toy goes when the little one’s get their hands on it?  Why, in their mouth of course!  Nothing like that fun oral stage where every little thing must be tasted! This adorable little Fruit Tote with Teether Toys looks like it came straight from the market. The material is organically grown Egyptian cotton and it is made in Egypt utilizing the 13 Villages Project. Each of the pieces are handcrafted, which is always great! Looking over the product, I’m honestly in awe of their amazing ability to construct the pieces. They are insanely well made!


Product Description

From the Company

As Seen in Mothering Magazine, Nov-Dec 2008 issue.

FOR AGES: The fruit toys are for newborn and up BUT The tote itself is for 2 years and up.

Your little one will have so much fun carrying their fruit teether toys in this cute little tote! Inside the tote includes: banana, grapes and watermelon. Made and stuffed with the finest 100% organic Egyptian cotton. Size of tote is approximately 6 inches long, 4 inches wide and 3 inches high. Size of fruit teether toys vary from approximately 4 to 6 inches.

13 Villages Project

Under the Nile products are made out of 100% organic, Egyptian cotton that assures their products do not come into contact with any pesticides or chemicals during the manufacturing process. The company also practices in fair trade towards all of the people involved with the manufacturing process from start to finish.  The company utilizes 13 villages through teaching and educting the villagers to make the toys. This project is providing health care and gudance for maintaining overall health. The goal is to help these communities lead healthier and happier lives.

Cera Wireless Speakers 20% Discount & Review

IMG_4733I’m sitting here writing this post while listening to the Cera Audio Wireless Speaker and I must say, it is now essential to my electronic necessities!  I’m not real certain how I ever listened to any of my devices without it!  I can frequently be seen walking from room to room with it, not because I can’t hear it in different rooms, but because it’s my personal ‘surround sound.’  LOL.  Oddly, my family is so use to my quirkiness that they don’t even say anything about how silly I look when I’m carrying around a tablet and speaker throughout the house.  LOL.

CERA Wireless Speakers come in 3 colors: black, white, and red.  They are compatible with most bluetooth devices and can also be plugged in via usb and line in jacks.  We’ve been using it with my tablet and our Android smart phones (both are Samsung, not that it matters).  It takes 2-3 hours to charge and you get 6-8 hours of play time!  I got two, because I’m so addicted I need to rotate them while the other is charging (it takes a whole 2 hours, but still!).  LOL.  Plus, you can link the speakers together and multiply the sound!  I took 2 out that were linked while working in the yard and put the speakers by a koi pond, which was blasting out the noise of not one but TWO very loud fountains, and could hear it clearly from across the yard (about half an acre) and could have probably heard it from even further, but the privacy fence halted me.  LOL.


From the Company

CERA Wireless Speaker Product Features:

  • Powerful Wireless Portable Speaker with Version 3.0 Bluetooth® Technology for a faster connection with better sound quality
  • Compatible with iPad®, iPod®, iPhone®, MP3, MP4, Laptop, PC and most Bluetooth® enabled devices
  • Voice notifications when CERA is on, in pairing mode, and pairing complete
  • Simple pairing with most Bluetooth® enabled devices
  • Stream audio from your Bluetooth® enabled device from approx. 33ft (10m) away
  • Plugs into any non Bluetooth® enabled device with supplied 3.5mm (1/8) headphone jack as well
  • New Daisy Chain function allows an infinite number of CERA’s to play at the same time
  • Illuminated Touch Control Panel
  • 360° Expanding Sound Chamber illuminated with blue lighting
  • Internal Lithium Ion Battery recharges over USB
  • Up to 5-7 hours playtime on a full charge (approx. 2-3 hours to fully charge)
  • 1 Year Limited Warranty

Package Contents: CERA Speaker, Charging Cable, 3.5mm Audio Cable, Daisy Chain Cable, Carrying Case, Quick Start Guide and User Manual

Discount Code

20% off discount code: 20CRAFTYZOO