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exceptional balsamic vinegar 12 days of shopping pragmaticmom.com

12 Days of Shopping: Quick Gifts Whole Foods/Foodie Stores (Day 11)

Gifts on the Run for Foodies

Capability:Mom and I are on the home stretch here both for our 12 Days of Shopping posts and for our own holiday shopping.  This post lands very close to Christmas and is meant to help you out if you need to dash to the store for one more present whether it’s a quick return gift from someone who unexpectedly gave you a gift or someone you accidentally left off your list.  Or maybe you are so efficient that you can do all your shopping in one fell swoop! Read more…

cat scratching post, 12 days of shopping, pragmaticmom.com

12 Days of Shopping: Cat/Dog (Day 10)

Gifts for Dogs and Cats

I thought that the cat post would be hard to do as I have a dog now but I grew up with cats.  I told the dog breeder while we were being “interviewed” that I grew up with cats but my husband had a dog.   She asked what breed of cat.  “Siamese,” I told her.  She laughed because apparently Siamese cats are the most dog-like of cats.  So I did end up with a puppy which worked out because my husband is very allergic to cats.  Still, I have a fondness for cats so I was happy to investigate cat toys. Read more…

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12 Days of Shopping: Husband/Wife (Day 9)

Gifts for Husbands and Wives

My husband is not an easy guy to shop for, as are most husbands.  They are closet about that; they seem easy to shop for because they are happy and grateful for whatever present they unwrap but the tell-tale signs … the sweaters sit in their closet never worn.  They ask, several years later, a tad embarrassed, if they can donate those never worn sweaters when they are cleaning out their closet.   Read more…

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12 Days of Shopping: Garbage, Mail, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning Person, Dog Walker (Day 8)

Best Gifts For People Who Help You All Year

For people who help you during the year, cash is king.  I think the rule of thumb is 2 weeks of what you pay them for a holiday gift.  In the case of people you don’t normally pay — Sanitation Engineers, Newspaper Delivery Persons, Mail Carriers, etc. — I like to enclose the money in a holiday card.  How much for them? I checked with Capability:Mom who really knows this stuff and she wanted to point out that mail carriers can’t accept gifts over $20 and that some towns and cities have ordinances about that. Read more…

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Best 529 College Savings Plans (from Morningstar)

Best College Savings Plans

I began using the  529 College Savings plans for my kids since nearly 10 years ago.  My first advice came from a CPA Mom Friend who had done exhaustive research on the existing 529 plans for her own child.  I just copied her and went with the NY plan even though I live in Massachusetts. (NOTE that you need to read the fine print when you go out of state as there may be additional rules as to how the money may be spent.   Read more…

Wool and the Gang, 12 days of Shopping, pragmaticmom.com

12 Days of Shopping: Do Good/Hostess Gifts (Day 7)

Best Hostess Gifts and Gifts That Give Back

Capability:Mom is posting today on lovely hostess gifts and frankly, she is an expert on this.  For my part, I am compiling a list of gifts that give back in some way but also have a “present component” to the recipient. They’re gifts that keep on giving. Read more…

Spain: children’s books, interior design, El Bulli recipe and more

Spain: Culture, Food and Books for Kids

The children’s books that I selected are old-fashioned from a by-gone era so I am spinning the rest of this post into the modern world.  We’ll start first with a dizzying tour of modern Spanish furniture, and then onto the hottest food scene in the world.  According to my favorite foodie snark, Anthony Bourdain, Spain is where it is at for the foodie scene.  Forget France, that is so last year! The maestro is Ferran Adriá and I have an easy recipe from his blog as well a few other fun things.  To finish up, we’ll see some Spanish creatives; architect Gaudi and artists Miró, Picasso, and Velázquez. Read more…

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12 Days of Shopping: High Tech/Low Tech Gifts (Day 6)

High Tech and Low Tech Holiday Gifts

I am so not an early technology adopter that it’s ironic that I am doing the High Tech portion of this category. Capability:Mom is much more technologically savvy than I am, but she has been assigned Low Tech.  It’s a year to stretch ourselves! Read more…

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12 Days of Shopping: Teacher/Tutor Gifts (Day 5) GIVEAWAY

Gifts for Teachers and Tutors

We have a slew of tutors to remember every holiday season, both Capability:Mom and I.  And by tutors, I use this as a catch-all to mean all the extracurricular teachers that do 1:1 or small classes with my kids for things like math, Spanish, Chinese, flute, karate, and the like.  Some moms also include teachers for group classes such as gymnastics and I always feel like a schmuck when I notice them giving beautifully wrapped gifts to them because I have failed to include them on my own list.  Ah well.  It is a crazy, busy time of year! (Day 1 gifts work well for teachers of group classes:  Granola and Granola Bars). Read more…