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Uncommonly Easy Gifts for Dad & A Giveaway!

2015 May 18
by Becky

(Giveaway is closed, congratulations to our winner Rachel!)
June is almost here and that means it’s time to celebrate Stu! We get hit with the double birthday/Father’s Day punch so a gift is certainly in order. I love birthdays but sort of dread Stu’s because he’s impossible to buy for (this goes for Christmas too).

I’m picky about gifts, I want them to be meaningful or very well suited, not just anything that constitutes a gift. This doesn’t mean expensive. Like one year I stopped at World Market and created a couple custom six packs for Stu, thinking it would be a nice little treat with his birthday dinner.

Stu&Finn

Another year I ordered him a beautiful Husker alumni watch, not cheesy, just a lovely timepiece with a small crimson “N” on the face. He loves the Huskers and likes watches, plus it donated to our alma mater, seemed like a slam dunk.

For his 30th birthday I threw him a party, including out of town friends, huge dinner spread, and his favorite carrot cake. Too bad he and his buddies were so excited to see each other the night before, they partied till 4am and practically slept through the actual celebration.

Last year it was a Weber grill, awesome, right? Except that Stu had researched for a month and told me exactly what he wanted and would have run over to Home Depot to get it regardless of a holiday or increase in age. Good gift, he loves it, but not much of a surprise and not very “thoughtful”.

So this year I decided to make it SUPER. This year Stu will never expect the gift I’m giving, but I’m positive he’ll love it. This year I picked out the perfect gift from Uncommon Goods (generous post sponsor), a unique, handcrafted gift boutique with affordable treasures to please anyone, even the father/husband/boyfriend/son who’s tough to please. And I’m extra elated about writing this post because I know I just may be helping YOU make your shopping easier…keep reading…

Stu’s current craze is whiskey. He went from “eh” to “it’s the best thing ever” seemingly over night, lecturing his friends on blends and varieties…I have no idea. He really likes it. So when I browsed Uncommon Goods’ gift suggestions for men, I saw this and stopped short.

UncommonGoodsBarrelScreenShot

What whiskey lover wouldn’t like to give this a go?

See “The Story” at the bottom? It’s a sweet personal touch that Uncommon Goods provides a short back story about the products, getting me excited about this being a perfect choice. Customer reviews also helped with my decision making. You put reviews on a site, I’m probably going to be shopping there. This whiskey making kit was swimming in positive comments so I ordered. It arrived quickly and is just the cutest thing.

WhiskeyKit2

It can be used again and again, that way Stu can try it several times to get just the flavor he likes…or can try anyway. Uncommon Goods sells replacement kits for just this purpose. It isn’t difficult but there’s lots of information available to make this fun for the whiskey lover.

I saw plenty of ideas for Father’s Day too, so those of you who like to go all out celebrating with gifts for Dad will surely be able to find something unique and personal. I found my self scrolling and scrolling through the merchandise, taking note for future holidays.

There are a few more reasons I like Uncommon Goods. They are a Brooklyn based company and nearly half of their offerings are handmade in the US, many using recycled or up-cycled materials. This gets the DIYer in me excited. UG generously supports causes that positively impact the world, such as American Forests and RAINN. I enjoyed reading about the artists, employees and curious facts on the Uncommon Goods blog…I am now fully informed about the origin of hammocks. This passion to provide creative products makes me extra jazzed to buy them.

Ethan wasn’t sure what to think about this gift. I believe his reaction was, “Mom, what the heck is this?”

EthanWhiskeyBarrel

EthanWhiskeyBarrel2

 

I see a little dad-centric art project in our future so the Peanut can celebrate too. And cake. There will definitely be cake.

So, I mentioned helping you with gift giving? Other than just turning you in the general direction of this online store, one lucky reader will get $50 gift certificate to spend at Uncommon Goods just in time for Father’s Day! So if the dog ate the macaroni artwork meant for dad or you are rethinking that “Worlds Greatest Dad” coffee cup, consider this your chance to recover.

THE GIVEAWAY

Uncommon Goods is giving a $50 gift certificate to ONE lucky reader. The winner can use the digital funds immediately on anything offered by Uncommon Goods…good luck choosing!

To enter, please:

  • Visit Uncommon Goods, then come back here and tell me what item you think your Dad would love.
  • Additional Entry: “Like” Preparing for Peanut on Facebook.
  • Open to USA & Canada residents only

We will announce the winner Friday, May 22!
(Winner will be notified by email)

And if you can’t wait another second, visit Uncommon Goods to grab something incredible today.

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What I’m Reading: Ethan Edition

2015 May 14
by Becky

It’s been far too long since I’ve shared our favorite children’s books. These days it feels like I’m typing through molasses to get a blog post written, which is interesting since Finn has been sleeping better than ever these past few weeks. So my energy should be up up, right? Guess again. But alas, no amount of exhaustion can keep us from reading every day!

We’ve started borrowing books from Ethan’s preschool “library”, an honor system that involves a huge bookcase stuffed with children’s books. Ethan likes to just start grabbing any and every title (just like at the real library!), so it was fairly surprising that we walked out with two of the best books I’ve read in quite some time.

1. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein

ManWhoWalkBetweenTheTowers-Cover

Once I got a good look at the cover of the book, I remembered it being reviewed by Kristin at thirdstory(ies), yet somehow it fell off my radar…tragic!! Ethan and I were transfixed from the first sentence, goosebumps covered my arms as we read the story of Philippe Petit, a tight rope walker who walked between the Twin Towers in 1974. Ethan immediately remembered our trip to Circus Flora last summer where we watched, terrified, the fearlessly talented performers ride bicycles, stacked with at least five people, across the tightrope.

ManWhoWalkBetweenTheTowers-Foldout

The charming story is simple yet riveting, perfectly suited for children and adults. Philippe and his friends were first tasked to sneak into the towers and run the 450 pound wire across the gap at night…intense on it’s own. The next morning Philippe just walked out on the wire. People below noticed the tiny man waaaaay up in the sky and the police were alerted.

ManWhoWalkBetweenTheTowers-Rest

Philippe took his time, walking back and forth, dancing, even laying down for a rest. At this point, I was seriously questioning how this could possibly be a true story. But it is. There’s even a documentary called Man on Wire that I will be watching very soon. An hour went by before Philippe left the tightrope and allowed himself to be arrested. His sentence was brutal…the judge said he must perform for children in Central Park.

ManWhoWalkBetweenTheTowers-Gone

The second to last page surprised me. The simple statement and image invoked an extreme emotional reaction. Maybe I was so enthralled with the story I didn’t expect it. Maybe it was Ethan’s innocent question of “What happened to the towers?” It was a question I wasn’t prepared to answer so, through tears, I mumbled something about them getting old and falling down. Not ready for that conversation. I choke up every time we get to this page.

This is a dazzling book, the illustrations exquisite, the story breathtaking, the whole package a sweet tribute to a truly incredibly artist and an amazing city. I was thrilled to find a feature film will be released this October with none other than Joseph Gord0n-Levitt starting as Philippe. Think I’ll be heading to the theater for this one! Kristin, girls night?

I see this book being added to our permanent collection.

2. When Dinosaurs Came with Everything by Elise Broach

WhenDinosaursCameWithEverything-Cover

On a much lighter note was this hilarious book of which Ethan can’t get enough. We’ve read it exactly 72 times in a week and I’ll now recite the entire thing:

Just kidding.

WhenDinosaursCameWithEverything-Bakery

It may not be anything close to true, or possible, but I love this story. Friday is errand day for this young boy and his mom, so they head out on their many stops. First up is the bakery where a sign states, “Buy a dozen donuts, get a dinosaur”. Thinking they must mean a toy, the pair is astonished to get a REAL dinosaur for their prize. Ethan was exasperated, “Mom! A triceratops!!” Exactly as the author depicted the little boy in the book. She must have boys.

WhenDinosaursCameWithEverything-DocOffice

At the doctor he gets a stegosaurus. At the barber he is presented with a pterosaur. All the kids in town are walking along with their dinosaurs, the mothers horrified and speechless. Mom and son arrive home and it isn’t long before Mom has the new pets doing chores around the house, mowing the lawn, cleaning out the gutters, and hanging laundry.

WhenDinosaursCameWithEverything-DinosaurParty

The end is Ethan’s fantasy revealed, kids playing at a pool party with their dino buddies. How cute is the pterosaur shading the babies in the background? Details like that are my favorite thing about children’s book illustrators. Silly but magical and how can you resist the wonderment of prehistoric pets? I love when authors take a ridiculous idea, like giving away dinosaurs, and run with it…the result makes kid’s imaginations run wild.

I was thrilled when we pulled up to World’s Fair Doughnuts on Tuesday and Ethan asked, “Do you think they are giving out dinosaurs today?” with a distinct twinkle in his little eye.

So that’s what we’ve added to our reading list lately. Have you read these books? What should we read next? 

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