Mother's Day Gift Ideas

The day to honor and celebrate all of the special moms in our lives is fast approaching! I have such a hard time trying to think of the perfect gift for my mom, who always tells me that she doesn't want anything and means it. The lady would be happy with a case of Tab and a pack of PAM. If you are reading this, Mom, surprise! Picking out gifts for loved ones is one of my favorite things to do, so I wanted to share some of my gift ideas for Mother's Day (disclaimer: I have zero fashion sense, just ask my sister, Julie. All of my grandmother's fashion genes went to her, so you won't find any fun clothes here.) 


Being a mom of three boys eight and under, my life is nuts! Like most moms, I am usually carrying bags and my four year old, who would rather be carried than walk, so I rarely have a free hand. I bought this O-venture keychain for myself a couple of years ago, and I love it! The circle makes it easy to find in my cluttered purse, so it has cut down on my key searching time tremendously. The major benefit is that you can slip it on your arm making getting in the house much easier when you are carrying kids, bags, etc. from the car. When you are going on a walk or to one of your kid's sporting events, you can leave your purse at home or in the car and just put that sucker on your arm, which also helps when you are chasing other kids around outside. They come in a wide range of colors and textures to fit everyone's taste and personality.


This gift idea not only helps with some R&R (rest and relaxation), as my grandfather used to say, but it will also bring beauty to any space. A dohar (just a super soft, light-weight blanket) from my Instagram friend, Courtney, who founded Mela & Roam, would be a treat for any mom. I am a self-proclaimed dohar addict and love to place them all around our home. The baby and twin sized dohars are great to drape over the back of a chair or couch, as well as to curl up on the sofa with. Of course, the queen and king size ones help to add more interest to your bedroom when you layer the soft textures with your bedding. I am a huge fan of pattern, so these gorgeously patterned linens fit the bill for me.

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She usually has more dohars available than what is shown on the website, so send her an email if you don't find anything that you like online.


Art is always a gift that I am thrilled to receive. Often, it is a gift that I give to myself...I have a small art obsession. Picking out and purchasing art can be overwhelming, and I often hear "I don't know what is good art." If you think it is beautiful, then it is good art! You want to put pieces in your home that you love, and everyone's taste is different. My sister, Julie, probably regrets becoming an art consultant, since I am always bugging her about various artists and pieces. She is a wonderful resource, especially for those who are first time art buyers, and she offers a wide range of price points and styles. 

Another wonderful resource for art is Mollie Creason, the founder of Well & WonderOur moms went to high school together, so my sister and I have been able to connect with her over the past few years when we have run into each other at the beach and through Instagram. She has a beautiful collection of pieces from various artists on her website that would be a perfect gift for any mom.


I have to give all of the credit to my sister for this gift idea, which she gave me last year for Mother's Day. This "to-go" wine glass from Goverre is perfect for backyard gatherings, boat rides, days at the beach, and tailgates, just to name a few. It is made of glass, which I love--I am somewhat particular about the material of the cups that I drink from. Strange, I know, but wine just tastes better in a glass. The glass is protected by a silicone sleeve that comes in so many fun colors. You can make this gift more personal by pairing it with her favorite bottle of wine or another drink of choice.


Let's keep with the theme of gift ideas I got from my sister. She brought her Parker Thatch tote to my grandparents' house one Christmas, and I instantly fell in love and had to have one. As a true Southern girl, I do love a monogram, and Parker Thatch has so many monogram and design options to choose from. They also have an option to include a message inside the bag, so you can really make the gift extra special for your loved one. 


Every mother or grandmother loves to see pictures of her children or grandchildren. Since I am the queen of online ordering, I like to use places like Framebridge or Simply Framed to print and frame pictures. I don't have to leave the comfort of my couch, and there are a wide range of framing options available. You can even upload pictures straight from Instagram or Facebook to print and frame. So easy!

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I talked about the Glassybaby votives in my Christmas Gift Guide, but I think they are worth mentioning again for Mother's Day. I love the meaning behind the name of each votive, which I think makes the gift more special.

mom

"on may's second sunday, mom smiles with delight at her breakfast in bed, as if one morning of devotion means as much as all of her thousands"

grammy

"‘grandmother’ or even ‘grandma’ are a lot of syllables for a two-toothed mouth to pronounce. much easier to thank grammy for the cookies and smiles"

smooch

"a bittersweet dropoff on the first day of school. savor the last little smooch of goodbye, miss them already, look forward to delicious freedom of today"

hugs

"tall person wraps over shorter shoulders, short one throws arms up around taller neck, or both right arms can go over the lefts. we love all types of hugs"

 

thank you

"you can pay back loans and return favors. but when someone makes your care a true labor of love, you can only say thank you"

 

awesome ain't easy

"if it were, everyone would be it. we believe everyone can be it - but "'awesome ain't easy.'"


I can't have a gift guide without mentioning one of my all time favorites, Mollie Jenkins Pottery! Mollie offers so many beautiful pottery pieces ranging from dinnerware, lamps, and mixing bowls. She recently debuted these mini planters, which I think would be a fun gift for any mom who loves gardening. Make sure to add her favorite flower or plant to really knock this gift out of the park.

When all else fails, the gift of a nap is always a well-received gift! Be sure to click the link below to read my Christmas Gift Guide for more gift ideas for Mother's Day! Happy shopping!

It's the Most Wonderful Time of Year: Christmas Gift Ideas!

It is hard to believe that another holiday season is fast approaching! Each year, I tell myself that I am going to try to slow down and enjoy this time with family and friends more, but let's face it, it is just a hectic time with parties, shopping, decorating, family gatherings, etc. I hope this year is finally the year that I don't feel like I am running around in circles like a crazy person--we'll see.

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is buying gifts for family and friends--it is actually one of my favorite things to do in general. I guess you could say that gift giving is my love language. I truly enjoy trying to find the perfect gift for a loved one that I hope will make him/her smile. I attribute my love of gift giving to my grandfather, who we called Dannanny. He loved sending a gift--big or small--to his grandchildren. As a child, I remember my grandparents sending us a box of fruit, oranges and grapefruit to be exact, as well as a box of Kimberly-Clark paper products. Without fail, these boxes arrived at our doorstep every December and became a little Christmas tradition for us. While boxes of Kleenex and paper towels weren't super exciting, you better believe we were grateful for them when we were down to our last rolls of toilet paper and remembered that we had a roll or two in our Christmas package. 

After Jacob and I got married, I was spending time with my grandparents. I don't remember exactly what we were doing--most likely we were having dinner with them--when I casually mentioned my love of bleu cheese to my grandfather.  A couple of weeks later, a package of bleu cheeses from Williams-Sonoma arrived that my sweet Dannanny sent. That was probably my favorite gift that I ever got from my grandparents. It was so thoughtful--and from that gift, I learned to quietly listen to my loved ones. It is in these casual conversations that you can really discover what some of their favorite things are. Just listen and don't let on when they've given you a great idea for a gift because nothing is better than the surprised look on their faces when you have given a thoughtful and personal gift. 

I wanted to share some of my favorite gift ideas with you, in hopes that it makes the Christmas season a little bit easier for you. I am sure that I will forget to include something, so be sure to follow along with me (@thedutchdoor) on Instagram for additional gift ideas that pop back into my memory.

***I have linked all of the websites and items in my post, so click on the bolded text and some of the pictures to link up to the product.***

I have to admit that I would like to buy most of these things for myself, and I think that it never hurts to buy a gift...or two...or four...for yourself! Whenever I can, I try to purchase things from small businesses. I think it helps make for a more unique and special gift, while helping support those small business owners and their families. 

For Her (or Yourself)... 

One of my latest obsessions for our home is the dreamware from Polder's Old World Kitchen. Any and all of their pieces would be the perfect gift for the cook in your life (or yourself). All of the pieces are hand-carved by a family in Virginia. If you are on Instagram, be sure to follow them to see their beautiful pictures and to stay up-to-date on the amazing discounts they offer on their dreamware (@poldersowm).

If I could only wear one thing for the rest of my life, it would definitely be a pair of Lake Pajamas. They are amazingly soft--like sleeping on a cloud--and the designs are classic and fun! This is one of those gifts that you need to treat yourself to. 

I first heard about Glassybaby votives when I was watching one of Martha Stewart's shows many moons ago. I have always been fascinated by watching glass blowing, and she took viewers on a tour to show how the votives were made. These votives are beautiful, and I love the names given to each color--kindness, hugs, faith, and my favorite--wet dog.  I have given these as teacher gifts, as well as to family and friends, and I pick them out based on the name of the votive and the meaning behind it. For Mother's Day last year, I gave my sister the "godmother" votive, since she is our boys' godmother--and it just happened to be one of her favorite colors, which was a nice coincidence. 

Since we are on the subject of candles, I have to admit that they are another obsession of mine. I love to burn a candle while I catch up on the DVR after the boys have gone to bed. Here are my current favorites from Lulie Wallace, Anthropologie, Mela & Roam, and Laurel Mercantile

If you think you need to include something else with a candle, a match striker would be the perfect accompaniment. I adore these strikers from Farmhouse Pottery! A candle and the striker would be wonderful gifts on their own, but wouldn't they make for such special gift as a pair!?!

I am a sucker for pottery and caffeine, so pairing those two together would be a lovely and useful gift for just about anyone. If you follow my on Instagram, you know my love for Mollie Jenkins Pottery, who is based in Georgia. I gifted myself one of her mugs last year, and it is beautiful (don't worry that they're all sold out at the moment--I think she is adding more pieces to her website very soon. They are worth the wait). 

While I am not a coffee drinker, I do love a cup of hot tea--makes me feel British, and I am obsessed with the Royal Family! Can we talk about Harry and Meghan's engagement!?! So exciting! Thanks to my friend (who has no idea who I am), Jen Hatmaker, I discovered Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea. It is a perfect drink for this holiday season. 

For Kids...

After receiving one of these monogrammed melamine plates by La Plates from one of my best college friends (thanks, Blair!) when our first son, Wynne, was born, these have been my go to kids' gift. Our boys love them, and we love them, too, since having their names or monogram on them helps prevent fights. Let's face it, kids fight over everything, or is that just our boys?

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These melamine plates by Sarah + Abraham are also a lot of fun, since you can personalize them to look like the child you are giving it to. We got these for our boys a couple of years ago, and they love them. 

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Since we have three boys and the only other girls in our house are two kitty cats, I am zero help in the gift giving department for girls. Our boys also only really play with sports stuff, but one non-sports related toy that they all love are Magna-Tiles, and I think they would be a crowd pleaser for girls, too. To get started with a set, I would recommend getting at least 100 pieces of the clear (they will still be colorful, but they're translucent, which is great for building garages/houses and such to put their toys in). They are a bit pricey, but they hold up very well. We have had ours for three years or so, and so far so good--they have stood the test of time with our three boys, who are very hard on things. 

For Him...

For the hunter or fisherman in your life, Andrew Lee Designs has some beautiful pieces that I think would make a thoughtful gift. Andrew lives in Auburn, Alabama, which this Auburn alum loves, and his artwork is beautiful. 

These leather coasters would be a perfect addition to an office or a man cave. These might help the boys in my life to remember to use a coaster--see a gift for him and a gift for your table--no more water rings. I am quite partial to the dog coasters. Aren't they nice!?!

For the outdoorsman, who wears a coat and tie during the week or on Sunday mornings, Andrew has the most unique collection of cufflinks that would add a fun touch to a suit or tux. These would certainly make a special gift that could be used for many years to come. 

For the beer enthusiast, a growler paired with their favorite brew would make the perfect gift. I love this one from Terrain and think it would be a beautiful addition to a night of entertaining. 

Stocking Stuffers...

If you ask any of my friends, they will all tell you how much I love a good koozie. I have been known to make a koozie or two for our Auburn tailgate group or even for a fun trip to California with friends to watch Auburn play. I have always loved Honey Bee Tees for their adorable kids' shirts, but their koozie game is also strong! How cute would these be on Christmas Day!?!

Most days, I am without makeup (scary, I know), but one of my favorite things to use when I do put my face on is this lipgloss from BeautyCounter. Fig is my favorite shade. 

While I love the winter months, I am not a fan of the chapped lips that come along with the cold weather. I having been using the lip conditioner from BeautyCounter for a year now, and I love it. This peppermint lip conditioner would be a festive stocking stuffer.

While I am on the subject of beauty, I wanted to share my favorite skincare items. I am obsessed with all of Tata Harper's products. They are a splurge (they are offering 20% OFF right now!), but I try to buy the trial sized items when they are offered to make sure my skin really benefits from the product before investing in the regular size. These masks are two of my top three favorites of hers (the other is the regenerating cleanser). The clarifying mask will make you look like Elphaba from Wicked, but green is my favorite color, and it is fun to scare my boys when I have it on. If you only try one, I would definitely lean towards the purifying mask. It is amazing--it makes my skin feel fabulous and so soft. Be sure to sign up for their emails, so you do not miss out on future sales!

Am I the only one who is constantly searching for something to write on? A writing pad is something that everyone could use. This one by Everyday Occasions is much nicer that the spiral notebooks I pick up at the grocery store. For Christmas, I ordered a couple for myself, as well as the boys' teachers (surprise, if their teachers are reading this). I will be putting these notepads away from little hands when I get them, since the boys like to write on everything.

I am sure Santa (ahem, Mom) didn't reserve this stocking stuffer trick just for my and my sister's stockings, but if Santa needs a filler...he can just throw an orange or two in the bottom. Just what every child wants for Christmas! 

Food...

The best part about the holidays is being with family and friends, but the second best thing is all of the yummy food you get to eat. My most favorite dessert is pie from Southern Baked Pie Company. Full disclosure, the founder, Amanda, is one of my best friends, but her pies are ah-mazing! If you are in Atlanta or Alpharetta, she opened up stores there last year, so go find them! You will thank me. Of course, all of you Gainesville folks know about it. If you don't live close to those areas, she also ships. My favorites are her chocolate chess pie and pecan pie. She also makes yummy savory pies, which are great, if you want to take the night off from cooking or need to take dinner to someone.

All Southerners love a biscuit, but I am ashamed to say that I have never made a batch. I discovered Callie's Biscuits a few years ago, and I don't plan on ever attempting to make biscuits myself--these are too, too good! I am so hungry just looking at these pictures of their Buttermilk Biscuits and Ham Biscuits.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Be sure to follow along with me on Instagram, since I am sure I will remember some great gift ideas that I forgot to include here. 

Hello, My Name is Sara, and I Have a Sink Obsession!

Post originally published on April 28, 2017

Well, we're moving...about four miles up the road. We closed on our new home a little over a week ago, and let's just say...it is a diamond in the rough. The bones of the house are fantastic, and I am excited about getting started on the changes to make it our own. We fell in love with the large yard, which is something one needs when you have three sports obsessed boys! The yard is also begging for a rescued Golden Retriever...okay, so it isn't so much the yard, but me who is doing the begging. If it's a boy, I have already named him...Rooster. I love naming babies and pets (and other people's babies, even when they don't ask for my opinion), so I will not relinquish naming privileges to my boys.

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We are planning on making some changes to the exterior of the house. We are going to rework the front stairs to help highlight which door is the front door, as well as to make it easier to walk up. The spiral stairs are a bit difficult to walk up. The new staircase will maintain the style of the house, which is very important to me in my design, and I hope enhance it. I also cannot wait to put hydrangea bushes all around the house--they're my favorite!

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This porch--every Southern girl's dream! I made the mistake of telling the boys that they could ride their bikes around the porch after we moved in. Sounded like a great idea, until Jacob quickly informed me that they could fly through the railing if they crashed. Oops! I mean, I'd make them wear helmets. We'll just stick to riding our bikes in the driveway.

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I also have plans to rework the front door. I like simple lines, so I want to eliminate the decor surrounding the front door and install a new door, side lites, and transom. As far as the color palette goes, I would like to change the shutters to black for a classic black and white scheme--so not a huge change, as far as exterior paint goes. Of course, in keeping with Southern tradition, we'll paint the porch ceilings a haint blue--gotta keep the spirits and bugs away! I don't particularly care for either.

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I am a sucker for a beautiful staircase, and I instantly fell in love with this one! While I love it, my Dad only sees the boys climbing and jumping from it.

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Here is the family room. The hardwoods are in great condition, so that is a huge plus! We want to add built-ins surrounding the fireplace and redo the mantle. It pains me to have to put the TV above the fireplace, but I think that is where it is going to have to go. Ahhhh....such a perfect place for a piece of art, oh well!

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The most exciting part of the renovation for me is going to be to the kitchen and dining room. I am so spoiled by an open floor plan at our current home and was determined to incorporate that into this one...so, I am going to switch the kitchen and dining room. Easy, right!?! When we first looked at the house, I told Jacob that is what I wanted to do. He thought I was crazy, but thanks to the help of my great friend, Leigh-Anne O'Brien, who is our realtor (and an amazing artist), we convinced him! My 15 year dream of having a farmhouse sink is finally going to become a reality! I am not sure who is more thrilled--me or Jacob, since I will stop talking about how I long for one!

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That, my friends, is the laundry room. Not ideal, so with the help of local architectural designer, Lori Carter, we are creating an actual laundry room (as well as a pantry) by stealing some space from the existing kitchen. We don't need a large dining room, so it's a great solution.

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This space is going to be the new kitchen! Isn't the natural light so much better in here!?! I am the type of person who needs a lot of natural light...makes me much happier. Moving the kitchen will also allow me to keep an eye on the boys when they are in the backyard when I am in here. We are going to expand the current opening to the family room and put our casual dining table just beyond that.

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I am so bummed that we have to lose those windows, but it'll be great in the end! I also need to figure out where to put a Dutch door. My excuse for having to incorporate one in this house is that I cannot have a business called The Dutch Door Home and not have a Dutch door in my home. Convenient, right!?!

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The boys will have to share a bathroom in the new house. Thank goodness, I don't have three girls, since my sister and I barely survived sharing a bathroom up until middle school. I am super excited about putting a trough sink in here, which is another sink I've been lusting over for years. They don't need much storage space, and they'll all be able to brush their teeth or whatnot at the same time, which I am sure won't be chaotic at all. Apparently, I have a thing for sinks. I've just discovered that as I am writing this blog post. Who knew!?!

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I came across this image while I was researching design ideas, and I think every boy mom will see the need! Apparently, you can customize the colors, which is an added bonus. Do I think this will help my boys in their bathroom adventures? Heck, no...but it's worth a shot, right!?! No pun intended.

Stay tuned for more of our renovation. We haven't started yet so not much to show at the moment, but we hope to be in the house in time for Christmas. Fingers crossed!

Dainties

Post originally published on May 15, 2017

In honor of Mother's Day, I wanted to share a couple of funny stories about two of the most important mothers in my life--my grandmothers. I am extremely fortunate to still have both of my grandmothers, and they are both very entertaining ladies.

My Grand-mere--a hoot, a character, a trip, and one of a kind--are words that we quite frequently hear from people when they comment about her to someone in our family. One of the best Grand-mere stories happened almost 10 years ago. A couple of months before Jacob and I got married, my Uncle Brian (my Dad's youngest brother) unexpectedly passed away at age 40. Both of my parents are from Atlanta, so we stayed with my Mom's parents overnight during the visitation and funeral. Of course, Jacob came along, too. He had met my grandparents before, but he was still trying to be on his best behavior around them, since he wasn't officially in the family yet--and at five foot nothing and shrinking, Grand-mere can be an intimidating lady. Jacob stayed in a bedroom next to my grandparents, while the rest of us spent the night in our usual rooms in the basement, which Grand-mere affectionately calls "the Southern Suite." Sounds nicer, right!?!

In the morning, we were getting ready for the funeral. Jacob took a shower in my Dannanny's bathroom, and he said he made sure he left the place spotless. He checked the shower, potty, sink--everywhere--to make sure he left everything exactly how he found it. He said it was immaculate, so we left to go to my Uncle's private burial with the memorial service following. In between the events, we went back to my other grandmother, Juliamere's, house. I remember exactly where I was standing in her front yard when I got the call from Grand-mere. Now, it was not unusual for Grand-mere to call me. She used to call my Mom, my sister, and me three to four times a day--no joke! So, I answered the phone to hear Grand-mere say, "Sara! Dannanny was in his bathroom and found Jacob's dainties in there. I've put them in a plastic bag, and I will bring them to the church." I quickly informed Grand-mere that she could just chunk those dainties and did not need to bring them to the church. Jacob, of course, wanted to crawl in a hole at the thought of my grandparents finding and handling his dainties.

The story doesn't end there. After the memorial service, which was beautiful, there was a reception at the church for everyone. Jacob and I were talking to a bunch of folks when I saw one of my Uncle Brian's best friends pushing his way through the crowd and headed straight for Jacob. He looked at Jacob and asked "are you Jacob?" Naturally, I thought they had a mutual friend or something like that--nope. Uncle Brian's friend said "I have your underwear. Some old lady gave them to me after the service and told me to give them to you. She won't leave me alone, so I wanted to tell you that they are at the front of the church on a shelf." Jacob was MORTIFIED, to say the least, and refused to go retrieve his dainties. For all we know, they are still sitting in that church.

 

 My sister,  Julie , Grand-mere, and me

My sister, Julie, Grand-mere, and me

 Uncle Brian and me at Tech's Homecoming when he was a student there.

Uncle Brian and me at Tech's Homecoming when he was a student there.

My Dad's mother is named Julia, and we call Juliamere--there is a long debate on how Juliamere got her name. Grand-mere claims that I named her. My Mom insists that Grand-mere picked out her name. Thirty plus years later, the debate continues. Juliamere is a retired teacher and still substitutes quite often even now. She loves to teach wherever she goes and always sees the good in people. She doesn't have as many stories to tell as Grand-mere does, since she isn't as opinionated and bossy (or the Top Dog, as Grand-mere likes to refer to herself), but this one is my favorite...

Juliamere lives in Atlanta near Emory University and was out and about one day when she saw a sign at Panera advertising for something free. Juliamere is one who enjoys a bargain, so in she went to try it. When she got up to the counter, she told the person taking her order that she "would like to try the free wiff-ee." The cashier wasn't quite sure what she was talking about so she pointed to the sign reading "free wifi" and repeated "I'd like the free wiff-ee, please." Bless her. Now, I have to catch myself before saying WIFI--I always almost say wiff-ee, since this story is now a running joke in our family.

 

 Juliamere with me and my youngest, Reid.

Juliamere with me and my youngest, Reid.