"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
April 28, 2015
Some Favorites + Mother's Day Mini Gift Guide
by Melanie Gunnell

Iím excited to share some of my favorite things that Iím positive you canít live one more day without knowing about. Hereís the bonus: many of these would be fantastic for Motherís Day gifts if you are already on the hunt.

Just like I love hearing about other peopleís favorite things, I love sharing mine with you (itís so fun to hear back from you when one of my faves has solidified a place in your heart, too!).

As always, none of these items/links are sponsored. They are just†things Iíve been loving; Iíve either bought them myself or been gifted them by awesome friends/family and I want to share them with you. There are a few Amazon affiliate links scattered throughout the post for the products Iíve bought and loved from there. Of course, feel free to shop around for the best price and value!

1. One of you blessed readers recommended these double-sided measuring spoons to me last year and if it were deemed acceptable to write poetry to measuring spoons, I would. I heart these so much. Itís not so much the magnetic feature (although awesome), itís that there are two sides to them. Meaning, I can use ONE measuring spoon for vanilla and baking powder. Revolutionary.

2. My sweet mom sent me one of these wrought iron picnic caddies and it is super! Thereís a spot for paper plates, plastic utensils and napkins and itís heavy enough, ainít nothiní blowing away in the wind at the park. Weíve used ours both indoors and outdoors for get-togethers. Iíve linked to the one on Amazon although they are a few dollars cheaper at Samís Club if you have a store/membership in your neck of the woods (sigh, I donít).

3. Another recommendation from one of you! I collect whisks like some people collect ceramic chickens. This cool, little ball whisk is awesome. I bought it months ago after one of my favorite whisks broke (sob!) and this thing is sturdy and trustworthy. My only caution is that I donít love using it on nonstick pans or even in my stainless steel saucepans but it is fabulous whenever Iím whisking something up in a bowl (like, 20 times a day).

4. If I could be in love with a colander, this would be it. I spied it over the holidays when I was visiting Portland, Oregon (where I have to always stop at the Crate and Barrel store much to my familyís chagrin).

It is life changing. You know how sometimes you set your colander down in the bottom of your sink (because you donít have three sets of hands) and pour in all the contents from the huge pot of boiling pasta and all that water bubbles up and around the noodles being drained with who knows what kind of germs from the bottom of your sink? Does that gross anyone else besides me?

Well, this colander fixes that problem ó not to mention it just frees up having to hold the colander until everything is drained and ready to go. I spread this baby out across my sink and pour in whatever needs drained and just leave it there to do its job. I was worried the metal would rust and wear poorly but after almost five months of nearly daily use, itís in perfect condition (I hand wash and let air dry).

5. Brian got me this ice cream maker for my birthday in February. Weíd had the smaller model for over a decade (thanks to a generous wedding present) and we used it often, but I canít say enough about how much more I love this slightly larger version (it makes more ice cream at a time, how could I not love it?). Itís faster, a little bigger and really pretty, you know, cause that matters.

6. Speaking of ice cream, these amazing little homemade ice cream containers have made me a happy homemade ice cream maker. My friend, Makita, had them at her house when our family was there devouring-with-no-shame her homemade ice cream and Brian surprised me with the red one along with that ice cream maker. They keep the homemade ice cream soft and creamy without freezer burn Ė plus, they come in really cute colors. I only have one right now but that green one is on my wish list.

7. I have been dying to share this hand cream with you. Dying. If youíve read some of my gift guides in the past, you know I really love hand (and foot cream) and am very, very choosy (some would say picky) about the kind I use.

I canít get enough of this stuff. It smells amazing ó not overpowering, just super light and fresh and lemony and sweet and it makes my hands so incredibly soft. Not just that, itís actually helped heal several of the deep cracks I get around my fingernail line (curse this dry climate!).

I canít say enough good about it ó Iíve given it to several of my friends over the past few months and itís an understatement to say everyone raves and raves and raves about it. The company (Perfectly Posh, sold through consultants; I found out about it from my famous Aunt Marilyn) has a lot of other great products (like this make-out magic sugar lip scrub ó funny name and all) but this hand cream is by far my favorite.

8. Self-tanning is a very personal thing (as in, some people love it, others despise). I have the whitest legs known to mankind and like to get a little color on them without baking in the sun but self-tanners are not created equal. This inexpensive Flawless Fake Bake one is pretty darn good. I donít go for super dark ó just light color ó and it doesnít look fakey-fake. My other favorite is this foam tanner from Rodan+Fields (looks like they are sold out right now, bummer).

9. Iíve raved about my favorite, favorite lip butter from Korres before. I use it daily and was doing (bad) cartwheels when I saw they had a new and improved version in a tube (as opposed to digging it out of the cute little tub with my finger). Itís just as amazing as the original lip butter. I love the Jasmine color.

10. Games! We love them so much and play them all the time as a family, so of course Iím excited to share our new favorites. First up is Wackee 6. I think itís been around forever but is new to us and it is a riot. Itís a simple card game (think a crazier, chaotic version of Skipbo). Cards fly all over the place and elbows may be thrown, but itís all in the name of fun.

11. We just recently played this Word on the Street game at my aunt and uncleís house and I think it might be my favorite game ever! I love word games and this is a clever game that was equally fun for me as it was for my kids.

12. Iíd been hearing for years how hilarious Telestrations is and we finally bought it over the holiday season last year. I can honestly say this game has made us laugh harder as a family than probably any other game weíve played. Words just canít even describe. We bought the party pack with 12 players and it has come in so handy when we have extra people over. Fun for kids and adults (or a combination).

13. I know. Pens. Yawn. Except these Sharpie pens are so awesome, youíd disown me as a friend if I didnít tell you about them. I am still an old-school paper planner girl and I use these colored pens to color code my life every week. They donít bleed through, they are smooth as butter to write with and I just love Ďem so much.

14. And if not pens, then letís talk chocolate. My super sweet brother, Nate, sent me Zoe Chocolates for my birthday this year and I have never, ever had such a unique chocolate tasting experience (and Iíve eaten a lot of chocolate in my day). These gourmet, delicious chocolates are perfect if you need a gift for someone who really loves and appreciates good chocolate (and unique flavors!).

15. Shoes. Sandals. I have an obsession and these adorable white wedge sandals from ModCloth are even cuter in real life (plus they are on sale right now!).

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About Melanie Gunnell

Melanie Gunnell is a food-loving, chocolate-obsessed mom who has a desperate need to share her favorite tried-and-true recipes with the world. In a past life she graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in public health, but for the past ten years, stay-at-home motherhood has been her job along with blogging-from-home for the past five.

She resides in the brilliantly cold tundra of Northern Minnesota with her husband and their brood of five children: four boys and one tiny, bossy girl. Dark chocolate (particularly the act of shoving chocolate chips in her mouth whilst hiding in the pantry) is her coping skill of choice for both the never-ending winters and the never-ending wrestling matches in her front room.


Calling(s): Primary pianist, CTR 6/7 Primary teacher, Activity Day leader

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