On the Third Day of Gift Ideas

I have been living in the South for awhile now, and calling cards are pretty much a requirement around here. These are the little cards that are business card size. They have your name and/or monogram on them and possibly a small motif or design too. Last year, I ordered calling cards for all of my nieces who are school aged. Has anyone else given these as gifts? What type of wording or design did you include?

Where to Find Them: All stationery stores sell a variety of these little cards. They are also available online. I have ordered a few through Finestationery, and I really like the calling cards by Fontaine Maury for adults and teens. If I am ordering super high end, I go for the good stuff at Crane.

What to Print: For young children, print the first and last name. For teens, you can print the name or a monogram. For my oldest niece, I had a babysitter business card made. The card included her name, the word babysitter, e-mail address, and phone number. For a mom with young kids, you can have the name, e-mail address, phone number, and phrase so and so’s mom printed on the card. Our Aunt B gave my son a set of cards that listed his name, monogram, and the word Spy when he was going through a secret agent phase.


  • Attach to birthday presents
  • Attach to hostess gifts
  • Give as baby gifts or christening gifts
  • Teens, distribute to moms for potential babysitting jobs
  • Moms, distribute at playgroups, the park, book clubs
  • Bloggers, distribute when people ask how to find your blog!

On the Second Day of Gift Ideas

I won’t be posting 12 days in a row of gift ideas, but I had a little momentum from yesterday’s watercolor painting post, so you get two ideas back to back! A year ago, my son came home from school raving about jelly marble experiments he had been performing in science class. It turns out, my local toy store carried this fun item, and we started giving them as birthday presents (great price point).

At Christmas last year, we bought several variations of the jelly marbles and gave them to all of the 4-8 year old family members. I even thought about using them as stocking stuffers for my own children.

What to Buy: Be Amazing! Toys has several options that are fun gifts. You can give the Amazing Spheres or Jiggly Jewels. We have also given the Insta Snow. After testing everything, the original jelly marble (AKA Amazing Spheres) was the fan favorite.

What to Do: The Steve Spangler website gives great suggestions for parents/teachers. At our house, we filled cups with water and added food dye. We let a few marbles grow in each color, then started moving them around to different colors to see if the colors would combine. We left them in for many days to see how big they would grow. We cut them in half to check out the inside. We tried different types of liquid (like cranberry juice or milk), which made a big difference on the growth rate. Basically, I left them by the kitchen sink, and my children messed around with them every day. I did not have to supervise too much, and as long as they stayed near the sink, there was very little clean up.

12 Days of Christmas Gifts

I know; it is a little early for holiday gift ideas. But I am an early shopper, and some of my fab ideas need a little lead time. I decided to post 12 of my best holiday gift ideas over the next month or so– all price ranges. These are gifts that work for mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, in-laws, grown-ups, children, and close friends. In return, please share your great gift ideas with me! Every year, I need a new arsenal when shopping for the 20+ people in my extended family.

Gift Idea #1: You will need 6 to 8 weeks for this first gift idea, so plan ahead. Order a unique watercolor portrait. Susan Woodard creates sketch portraits of children, animals, brides and grooms, and homes. Even though she does not paint the features on the faces, it is amazing how she captures people’s personalities in her paintings. I originally found Susan in New Orleans and had her paint a portrait of my two children. Since then, she has painted two 5×7 wedding portraits for a wedding gift for my sister (Aunt B), a sketch portrait of all of the grandchildren for my parents, and a painting of my home in New Orleans when we moved.

What to Do: E-mail Susan a jpg image. The photo must show above the head(s) to below the feet. She prices each piece based on the number of people or subjects. If you include something like a wagon or bike, that usually counts as a subject. You can pay an additional fee for the copyright to your painting and scan the portrait to use on a holiday card or personalized stationery. This is a special gift and is on the high end of my holiday price range.


P.S. Do not forget about the Gift Card Wallet Giveaway! It ends Sunday.

Gift Card Wallet Giveaway

Did you see yesterday’s post about the gift card mini wallet? If you did, I am sure you were thinking about how you could get your hands on one of these little beauties. Well, it’s your lucky day. I will be giving away one gift card wallet that includes a $10 mystery gift card! (Reminder– I am earning a teacher’s salary and have not hit the mother load with any sponsors yet.)

Your name will be entered in the drawing every time you like posts during the contest week, leave a comment to a post during the contest week, follow theroommom, like my Facebook page, follow me on Pinterest, and/or follow me on Twitter. Based on the overwhelming response to my first giveaway, if you do just two of these things, your odds of winning are quite high. U.S. addresses only, please.

Contest ends Sunday, Oct. 7 at noon (EST).

Click on the links above, below, or in the sidebar




Gift Card Wallet

Have you ever seen a teacher without a teacher bag? I haven’t. In my case, I have a giant teacher bag with a reinforced bottom. It can hold a grade book, file folders, sets of papers, and a binder or two. My big ‘ol teacher bag does not have room for my purse, and I do not want to lug around an extra piece of luggage to school every day. Instead, I keep my debit card, driver’s license, and maybe a few dollars in a small wallet that can be moved easily from my teacher bag to my regular purse as needed. Most teachers I know have a similar “mini wallet” system.

I needed a small birthday gift for a co-teacher at my school, so I decided to fill a mini wallet with a gift card. My birthday buddy can use this little sirsee as her “teacher bag wallet” after spending the gift card. If you are planning on giving a gift card to a teacher this year, step it up a little and enclose the gift card in a cute little wallet-y coin purse type bag. It will be the gift that keeps on giving! Plus, it meets the generic but personal criteria for teacher gifts.

The Wallet: I found these sewing cards by Valori Wells that have easy patterns. I used the Little Wallet pattern card. If you have two fat squares of coordinating fabric, you can make two to three wallets. I sewed a snap to the inside, but a button or other embellishment can be added to the outside of the flap for looks. The finished wallet has three pockets.


  • Gift card holder
  • “Go” wallet that transfers between purses and work bags
  • Grocery (and all other stores) loyalty card holder
  • Sandwich and frozen yogurt shop punch card holder

Gift Card Ideas: Some gift cards work better in $5 or $10 increments. Here are my suggestions. What am I missing?

  • Starbuck’s (or other local coffee shop)
  • Barnes and Noble (or other book store)
  • Nail salon
  • Gas station or grocery store (not very sexy but useful)
  • Sandwich shop (particularly one that is close to the school)
  • Movie theatre (include enough $ to buy 2 tickets)