Five Dollar Tree Gift Basket Ideas

Yooo, Thanksgiving is over, so guess what?  It is officially socially acceptable to roll out the Christmas shizz.  Full disclosure, as I may have mentioned before, I’ve actually been in the Christmas biz for a couple of weeks now (I think I put up my decorations – minus the tree – on November 9th.  The tree will go up after Bear’s birthday party on the 1st).

I’m ahead of the game for basically the first time in my life; it’s the day after Thanksgiving, and I’m decorated, I’ve bought Christmas cards, I’ve got my card list, I’ve made an Advent activity jar and bought Bear an Advent calendar, and I’ve bought (and wrapped!!) all my gifts.  The only things I have to do now is enjoy making a Christmas play list, and enjoy the holiday.

Oh, and I thought it’d be fun to compile a few Dollar Tree Gift Basket Lists.

I’ve written before, briefly, about my love of all things Dollar Tree (and I hope to write more about it in the future!).  There are tons of DT gift suggestions around, but most of the one I’ve seen are very vague or generic.  Going to DT several times a week, plus shopping their website, means I was able to put together a few pretty specific lists.  These gift baskets will cost between $15 and $20ish, but remember, you’ll be packing them with between 15 and 20ish items!  So they’re pretty substantial gifts.

For the Wine Lover’s Gift Basket, I didn’t mention alcohol because you can’t get it at DT, but you can throw in a bottle of good-but-cheap wine (I love Barefoot myself) and put the cost of the whole basket at just a little over $20.

I hope this helps someone out there hoping to put together some cool gifts for friends or family (and remember, you can add or take away items suggestions to make bigger/smaller baskets based on your tastes and/or budget!)

Feel Good Friday/Friday Faves: July 20th, 2018

onnie & CaroleFriday again!  This week has been punctuated by a renewed sense of being on top of things, thanks in no small part to my checklists system (though that system is still far from perfect).

Today, however, is a Bear and I day, and I have to admit that, for whatever reason, I’m feeling especially on edge today, and I don’t know if Bear’s obstinance today is the cause or result of my short temper.  Either way, I’m here, trying to take a breather (and hopefully regain my cool), and I thought I’d tap out what’s kept me going this week.

First, in a search to see if anyone had ever done a Christopher Pike podcast, I came upon Teen Creeps, a podcast covering young adult pulp/genre fiction, and oh my God, ahhhh, so many memories.  This is not a new podcast – they’ve been running since, I think, 2016 – but while I listen to a podcast or two, it’s usually because I stumble upon them in my search for something very specific.  I’m not a podcast connoisseur who’s up-to-date on all the last podcasting developments and releases.

Anyway, the show is wonderful, sometimes more tangent than book discussion, but both the book relevant content and the tangents are highly entertaining, and I really recommend it, especially if you loved these books as a kid.

Second, I found a link to BlueQ absolutely buried in my bookmarks and had to revisit them.  I love so much of there stuff (their bags especially; I’m think of buying a few as holidays gifts).  I don’t have much use for decorative dishtowels as dishtowels, but I can’t help thinking that the would be ideal to frame; if I wind up ordering from there for the holidays anyway I might pick one up and test that out.

Third, I actually got back to the gym on Wednesday for the first time in, uhh, like six months, and it felt awesome.  I’m woefully, shamefully out of shape, but it felt good to go back.  I’m back on Lose It! as well, and I think I mentioned in a previous entry, and welcome friends, if anyone who reads this is also using the service.  The link to my profile is here!

That’s it for this week; Bear is alternately pinching my face and trying to climb in my lap, and I think that means it’s time for us to go and do some chores.  What got you through this week?  Comment below and let me know!

First the Forest, Now the Trees (an Update)

organizing my lifeI have trouble compartmentalizing my life.  I guess it makes some sense; in some ways, the different threads of my life weave together in a really obvious, organic way.  The state of my home, for instance, affects how stressed I feel, which affects my sleep, which affects my work performance, which affects my feelings of self-worth, etc. etc., but by the same token, struggling slightly or hitting a stumbling block in one area shouldn’t completely waylay my progress in any given other.

But it often does.  This is a continuing issue I need to work on – dusting myself off after a set back, moving forward, and forgiving myself for stumbling.  But it’s also very much an internal struggle that is not the focus of this entry, though I do imagine I will write about it, eventually and possibly extensively.

But right now, I’m still in the early stages of macro-organization: just establishing a routine for the most mundane, bare-bones, most-people-don’t-think-twice-about-these-things aspects of my life.  Checklists to make sure I take a shower, pick out my clothes, brush my teeth, get a good meal in, do my chores, and have a chance to have some creative/restorative time to myself.  As I’ve said before, having to lay out many of those things probably seems ridiculous to some people, but for me, I need to see it written down in black and white and be able to check it off to ensure it gets done.

I used my checklists for the first time today – specifically, my Morning Routine checklist and my Before You Go checklist.  It was not a perfect first outing; my “wake up at 5:30” didn’t get checked off (I woke up at 6:05), but hey – I did morning pages.  Nothing, sadly, got checked off under Get Moving, but I glanced at the list – pinned to the fridge – as I prepped breakfast, and I downed a big glass of water to start the day.  And, I remembered everything I needed to bring to work, including earbuds and a book (which I always forget) that made the two hour-plus-long waits that bookend my work shift infinitely more enjoyable.

So, not perfect.  But without those lists?  So much worse.  I’d have been plagued with morning breath, dehydrated, stressed out, and bored, all before one pm.  I’d say Day One was a success, in that, the system works.  The system made my day objectively better.

And maybe it’s time to move on to more focused aspects of my life – specifically, my relationship with food and exercise.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a whole extensive history there – which, again, I will share eventually – that is not going to be suddenly resolved with schedules and checklists; internal struggles and issues that will take time and support to overcome.

But my usual pitfalls – not being able to “find time” to exercise, not having a plan for any given meal, not having healthy snacks on hand (whether I’m home or out and about), not looking at restaurant menus ahead of time to be informed of options – these are all things that can be, at the very least, helped with some thoughtful planning to create useful resources.

My first steps – I’m back at the gym, and I’m making a pick-and-pair chart for lunch and breakfast foods designed to maximize satiety and mindfulness, and minimize impulse binges on crappy foods.

Wish me luck.  I’ve now got an indication that this system is effective, so I’m hopeful.

Feel Good Friday/Friday Faves: July 6th, 2018

onnie & CaroleHey-o, Friday!

So, Fridays mean a little less when you’re not actively working.  Actually, this Friday is a little bittersweet, because it means we’re coming to the end of the week I had off between the regular academic year and the ESY, but either way.  This has been a busy week for us, and I still want to celebrate the little things that made me happy.

First, this week has a new five-episode Steven Universe arc, “The Heart of the Crystal Gems” – the last of which is airing tonight – which included some really adorable moments, some great lines (“Pssst, it’s me.  I’m a horse”), and some fantastic character development.  I’m thrilled for the final episode, which is double length, and, based on what I saw in the teaser trailer and what already has (or rather, hasn’t) transpired, I’m looking forward to some great moments tonight!

Watch Steven Universe here at Cartoon Network, or on Hulu.

On a related note, here’s a great little article on this arc, talking about queer representation in the show.

Second, I took my son to see fireworks for the first time, and he loved them.  Ever since he found out that we’d be going to Disney World in August, he’s asked if literally everywhere we’ve gone in the last week or so was Disney World.  The local fireworks this year took place at a large, outdoor shopping center.  When we got out of the car and he took in the vendors, musicians, and outdoor seating, his first reaction was, once again, “Is this Disney World??”  He had a blast dancing with his friends, hanging out, listening to music, and watching the fireworks – “I never want to leave this Disney World.”  Sigh.

At least we know the real Disney World won’t be a let down, given what his standards apparently are.

Third, Bear and I spent a long, long time yesterday collaboarating in his Toca Boca activity book.  I love all things Toca Boca – they have a great gender-neutral children’s line (honestly, I wish some of the stuff came in adult sizes), great exploratory games, and a quirky sense of both design and humor, and their activity book is no different.  The activity book is a Target exclusive, but it’s a lot of fun and a really good quality, so if you can find it (or order it) I would definitely recommend it.

Fourth, today is the day I buy my FanExpo Boston tickets!  This is far from my first convention, but this will be, by and far, the most commercialized con I’ve ever been to, so I’m not entirely sure what to expect.  A lot of my con-going friends regularly hit up FanExpo and seem to have a good time, so I’m hopeful; a friend of mine, whose judgement I trust implicitly, said they spent their last foray exclusively in the dealer’s room and had an amazing time just chatting with vendors and other fans, so I can only assume that branching out into the other panels and events will be just as enjoyable (and if not, hey, just head back to the dealer’s room).

That’s it for this week.  What’s made your week brighter?  Please feel free to share in the comments!

Getting Older

You’d think that any number of things that have transpired in my life so far would make me feel old – getting married, buying a house, having a kid, even just seeing my birthday circled when I flip over the calendar to July – but no.  You know what makes me feel old?

Earlier this week, I got an email from my assistant principal looking to recruit staff to work at the summer high school orientation to welcome the class of 2022.  

Excuse me, what?

tumblr_o72zfaL8DS1uk2pieo5_1280 (1)
I feel you, John Mulaney.

Like I said, I don’t usually feel “old.”  In fact, I often have to remind myself of how old I really am. I actually have this problem where I’ll sometimes have to bite my tongue to stop myself from referring to recent college grads as “about my age.”  Like, no sweetie, she’s 23. You’re almost 36. You need to stop.

But… 2022.  2022 still doesn’t even sound like a real year to me.  I graduated high school in 2000. I started working here in 2005.  When people refer to something being from “ten years ago,” my mind still turns to the 90s.

So it’s not having a kid, or owning a home, or having a career.  It’s getting emails about future graduating classes. And other similarly inconsequential things.

How I Know I’m Getting Older

  1. Waking up at 9 am, which used to be a perfectly respectable wake-up  time, now feels like I’m sleeping half the damn day away.

  2. I have favorite tupperware.  It’s got an attached lid (whaaaaaat.  I hope whoever figured that out got a medal.  Seriously. I’ll start with fifty Tupperware lids and wind up with five.  Attached is the way to go.)

  3. I get excited when we go to the “nice” supermarket, and I’ll take an extra leisurely stroll down the expansive ethnic food and produce aisles.  Do I buy anything different? No. I seriously just window shop produce, now. It’s concerning.

  4. I look forward to cleaning days with the same fervor and enthusiasm with which I used to anticipate snow days as a kid.  Days when I can get up early, get myself a big mug of coffee, kiss my husband and son goodbye for the day, and just clean??  Yaaaaaas.

  5. I can no longer count my grey hairs.  They are legion.

  6. I weirdly care more about cultivating an image, but care less if some people don’t like that image.  Meaning, I guess, that I’ve become more concerned with being happy with the way I present myself, and less concerned  about others being happy with it.

  7. I’m obsessed with The Dollar Tree, discount stores, thrift shops, and over-all just getting more for less.  Which isn’t strictly an age thing, I suppose, but for me there’s been a definite upwardly thrifty trend as I’ve gotten older.

  8. I’m basically ready for bed after one glass of wine.  Which rarely stops me from having my second glass of wine, but means I now put on my pajamas first.

  9. I need coffee more now than ever in order to feel human, but that same amount of coffee now gives me the caffeine shakes.I used to be able to drink a large Dunks Coolata before bed and sleep like a baby.  Now I have a cup of coffee with breakfast and I’m trembling like a leaf by 10 am.

  10. I have “bad” body parts.  Like, the other day, I complained to my husband that my “bad ankle”  was acting up, and suddenly it was like, ‘oh crap – I have a bad ankle.  This is how it starts – this is how the whole system starts to crumble.’

  11. I’m now over a decade older than all six Friends during Season One.  Whaaaat.

  12. THEY ARE REBOOTING A REBOOT OF A SHOW I WATCHED AS A KID.  No one should live long enough to see such atrocities.

  13. I once told a student I loved vintage video games – the really old school stuff – and he replied with, “oh you mean like the N64?”  This was, itself, already several years ago. I’m terrified if I said this today, the kid would be like, “Oh, you mean like the PS2?”

  14. I buy a lot of tunics, now.  I don’t know, is this an age thing?  I don’t remember owning this many when I was younger.

  15. We listen to the radio when we ride the bus for student internships and I recognize literally none of the songs on the radio anymore.

How and when do you most feel your age?  Comment down below!