A Few of My Favorite Books and Toys

You guys know I love handmade Christmas gifts. So as much as possible, I buy gifts from Etsy or local vendors. If not handmade, I love to shop small businesses if I can.

Usually, I round out my shopping with a couple of trips to my local Target to finish up with stocking stuffers (most likely more than I need). But this year, with three kiddos under five in tow, the last place I want to go is Target during the holidays. Thankfully, I’ve discovered the wonder that is Amazon Prime. This year, pretty much all of my non-handmade gifts have been bought online from the comfort of my home (or anywhere thanks to their handy iPhone app).

As an Amazon Prime member (totally worth the $79 yearly membership), I get free two-day shipping, plus overnight shipping for just $3.99 as well as access to thousands of movies and TV shows for FREE for instant streaming (and if I had a Kindle, you can bet I’d be “borrowing” some books from the lending library that comes with Prime).

Earlier this week, Tsh shared a few of her favorite gift ideas from Amazon, and I wanted to do the same over here. So with a bit of a slant toward the natural living, I’m sharing my favorite toy and book recommendations.

For the Little Ones

Wood blocks from Melissa & Doug

The more I learn about how kids play, the more I realize the importance of simplicity. These simple blocks are on my son’s wish list, although my older daughter would sure love them as well. I’d also love this take-along tool kit for him, and both of my kids love their wooden pizza kit. (Yay for Melissa & Doug!)

Cooking & Dining Set from Green Toys

The Green Toys tea set my daughter has is super cute, so I would love to give her this cooking and dining set to go with it. Green Toys are made out recycled plastic bottles which I love, and even though they are plastic they have a somewhat-earthy feel to them.

Edible Finger Paint

This isn’t something I’ve tried before but with the rate my son chomps on crayons that get left within his reach, I’m thinking these paints would make a great gift for him.


For the Reader

Green Market Baking Book 

This is my favorite cookbook right now. It’s set up seasonally and features amazing baking recipes (both sweet sweet and savory) that use natural ingredients (including alternative sweeteners).

Real Food for Mother and Baby

This book is a must-read for anyone interested in real food who’s about to have a baby. It’s been a great resource for me and I wish I’d read it before I had my first. For those not interested in fertility, pregnancy or feeding a baby, Nina Planck’s first book, Real Food is an amazing resource as well.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

This is one of those books I could read over and over again. Reading about a year of eating locally with Barbara Kingsolver and her family will inspire the gardener and eater in anyone.


An eternal lover of turning pages and shelving books, I must say I’m starting to lean towards wanting a Kindle. There’s just something about the ease of buying (and borrowing) and the simplicity of getting rid of some of the books (I have around ten boxes that are the bane of my husband’s garage existence) that’s making me consider one. I could see the Kindle as a great gift for the eco-minded reader who doesn’t want the clutter or the paper waste of a real book.

For the Children’s Home Library

Blueberries for Sal

This book is a classic. My daughter loves how the story parallels a mom and baby girl with a mama bear and baby bear as they all are out picking blueberries on a hill. It’d be a really fun one to have on audio so my daughter could listen to it and flip through the pages during her quiet time.

All in a Day

We checked this book out at the library because I was intrigued by the beautiful paper-cut illustrations and I loved it so much that I scanned the barcode with my newly-downloaded Amazon app and it proceeded to be the first purchase I made from my phone. It’s all about making the most of each day.

My First Garden

This is a favorite at our house. Shaped like a basket, it’s a cute board book all about the vegetables that a little girl grows and then makes into vegetable soup.

I hope these ideas have helped you if need a last-minute gift idea for the green-minded person on your list. I’m finishing up some homemade gifts and then next week I’ll be wrapping things up in the kitchen, with some yummy gifts that I can’t wait to pass out!

(Disclosure time: This post has some Amazon affiliate links, which means if you click on them and then buy something there, I’ll get a little percentage of that. Just wanted you to know that.)

Who do you still need to shop or create for?


About Nicole

Nicole can be found blogging at her lifestyle blog GidgetGoesHome.com, and is the editor of Simple Homemade. She loves to read, sew, make ice cream, take pictures, watch baseball and go for walks by the beach with her hubby and three little kiddos. She loves anything handmade and is affectionately known as a bit of a hippie among family and friends.


  1. Fun ideas! I’m all about the simple toys for my kids. Do you have a favorite Melissa & Doug product?
    Steph (The Cheapskate Cook)´s latest post: My Favorite Frosted Sugar Cookies

  2. Oh, we love wooden blocks! And the books you listed are great, too.

    I am finding myself slowly pulled toward getting a kindle. It seems strange to think about not buying real books, but it would help reduce clutter. I’m already out of book space around here.
    Stacy´s latest post: My New eBook: Simple Scrubs to Make and Give is Now Available!

  3. I think edible finger paint would be a real winner at our house. Thanks. I’ve read several of Kingsolver’s thought-provoking novels and didn’t realize she had written a non-fiction piece. I’ll have to check it out.
    Steph´s latest post: Indulging in Skipping

  4. I like those gift ideas, especially the Kindle and the edible finger paint. we had edible finger paint in grade school…it was called chocolate pudding ;) :) I’m intrigued about Amazon prime. That sounds like a good deal. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :) :) :)

  5. I love the book Blueberries for Sal!
    My daughter is expecting, I am going to look at the book Real Food for Mother and Baby. And my other daughter loves cooking with seasonal foods, I may get the Green Market Baking book for her.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Living the Balanced Life´s latest post: 8 popular posts on Productivity and Organization

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