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11 Gift Ideas for your 11 year old Daughter (or niece, sister, granddaughter, Godchild, etc)



Hey there!  In honor of my daughter's 11th birthday (and because I have spent so much free time browsing gift ideas in this particular category for the last few weeks), I'm giving you a list of fantastic gift ideas for an 11 year old!  Obviously these are going to be great for anyone around that age as well... some of them my 8 year old also loves, and some of them my 15 year old would probably still enjoy, so use this list for ideas for anyone in this "tween" stage I suppose?

All of the items have links to help you find them for purchase! A small commission may be paid to me if you choose to purchase from some of them.


Hoverboard


1.) Hoverboard

My daughters got these for Christmas actually, and LOVE THEM SO MUCH.  I love them so much.  I have been zipping around the kitchen on it while they are at school- sure makes sweeping the floor more fun!  I love when I can think of a big gift idea for my kids- so much easier than a bunch of small things.  This would be a great "big gift" for any kid- boy or girl- and such a span of ages would enjoy it!


Roller skates


2.) Roller Skates

Another item that has been used in my kitchen constantly for the last few days.  My daughter received these from her grandparents and hasn't barely had a waking moment without them on.  Of course, they will be more fun in the Spring when she can bust them outside, but for now she's enjoying her laps around the kitchen island for practice.


basketball


3.) Cute colored basketball

This pink and purple basketball is super cute!  We got this one for her birthday as well, and there are a lot of fun colors and designs online (Amazon...).


furry pillow


4.) Fluffy Backrest Pillow

This is so perfect for my kids!  They sit up in bed every night to read, and usually weekend mornings to draw or color or just chitchat with each other.  This pillow is going to make it so much more comfortable!  Bonus, it's super cute and fluffy, and that scores major point with my 11 year old for sure.


Rush Hour Game



5.) Rush Hour Game

This game is super fun! My daughter actually has it in her classroom at school and asked for it at home.  It can be played alone, or as a group effort.  Our family loves it, and my husband and I have found ourselves playing it after the kids are off to bed!  Honestly, my 60-something year old father said he wants one to play in the evenings after seeing it at our house! Fun for all ages I guess.


Tenzi Dice Game


6.) Tenzi

My daughter has actually had this game for about a year, but totally loves it.  It has been a big hit for birthday party gifts for her friends as well.  It's basically just a pack of colorful dice, with a variety of ways to use them for fun little games.  It's easy enough for her younger siblings to play with her, and fun enough for my husband and I to not mind when she asks us to play the 1000th game of the week!


Draw Cute Animals

Draw Cute Stuff



7.) How To Draw Cute Stuff book

My daughter loooooves drawing.  So much so, that one of her main Christmas requests this past year was a 3 ring binder to keep her artwork in, as well as page protectors and other things of that sort.  After laughing with my husband that most of her list requires a shopping trip to Office Max- we went out and found her a cute binder and page protectors- but included a fun drawing book with it!  We got How to Draw Cute Animals, and then followed up with How to Draw Cute Stuff for her birthday after it was a big hit.


Pink Llama Slippers


8.) Slippers

My other kids bought a pair of Llama slippers for my 11 year old's birthday gift this year, since "Llama" was her theme of choice.  (See the photo of the Llama cake we made her in this post.)  I also considered a cute pair of  moccasin style slippers for her, prior to my other kids finding these Llama ones, but I think the moccasins are super cute and stylish, and feel like the level of "maturity" that my 11 year old wants when she doesn't prefer big pink llamas on her feet! (They are so back and forth at this age, right?!)


Sisters Grimm book series boxed set


9.)  Book Series

My daughter received The Sisters Grimm book series for her birthday, but there are so many good ones out there for this age!  It's fun to get a few as a gift to get a good start on the series if you don't want to do the entire thing.  I've done the first 3 in many different book series for my kids before just to give them a few to get into.


Kindle e reader


10.) Kindle (Reader, not tablet)

We actually gave one of these to two of our daughters for Christmas this year.  They have been super fun so far, and such a big hit with my girls.  We bought a few books for them on it as well, but have been enjoying some that come free on Kindle Unlimited as well.  It certainly hasn't taken the place of them reading regular books (see above suggestion for actual paperback books), but is a fun option for car rides, at a siblings sport to pass the time, and in bed, for example.  My daughters share a bedroom, so it's been super handy that one can read while the other falls asleep without needing a lamp on since they are backlit!  (I have a post of free books for kids on Kindle Unlimited that we have either read, or plan to look into reading!  Click here if you need it!)  We also gave a set of blue-tooth headphones along with it, so they can be used to audio books as well, and we opted to skip any case for now, based on the reviews on Amazon.


Macaroons

11.) Something to DO

I love giving the gift of an activity.  It's even better received as the kids get a little older.  We bounced around a lot of these ideas this year.  Some of our thoughts were movie theater, pottery shop, baking class, tickets to a show/concert together, ice skating, or online painting/doodling classes.  I think depending on the amount, it might be fun to do a little compilation of a few so they are set with fun activities to do for a while!  This feels especially helpful for a January birthday in Minnesota- like my daughter has.  The winter gets long and the cabin fever gets real- it's nice to get out and do something!  On a smaller scale- if you're looking for a gift for a friend/birthday party- we love to do a DQ giftcard as a gift with a small doo-dad along with it.  Helps us keep around our $10-$15 budget that we usually do for birthday party gifts, and it's something different than another art kit!

What are your favorite gift ideas for this age range? Help us all out and leave some ideas in the comments!



Best Kindle Unlimited Books for Elementary and Middle School Kids

Kids Books on Kindle Unlimited



A few of my daughters received Kindle readers for Christmas this past year and have been really enjoying them!  We did the basic readers, not the tablet version for a multitude of reasons.  The main one being, of course, that these are intended for reading on only.  They have other devices to play games on, but we wanted these to just be for reading.

The fact that they are so small, lightweight, and back-lit has really been great for car rides, siblings sports practices or events that have wait time, waiting rooms at the doctor, etc.  I've loved the lighting feature for bed time since our daughters share a bedroom.  It really makes it easy for one daughter to stay up later and read if the other needs to fall asleep, without a disturbing lamp or booklight on.

We had an offer for a free month of Kindle Unlimited when purchasing the Kindles, but have since seen offers for a free YEAR of it if you purchase the Kids Kindle edition, and probably would go that route if we had a redo.

I scoured the Kindle Unlimited section on Amazon for books that we love, or are going to give a try for their Kindles, and hope it's helpful for you if you have little kindle reading kids as well! 

I do think that this is just a great list of books to enjoy for kids without a kindle as well, you'd just need to secure a copy at the library or order them off Amazon, at your local bookstore, or however you shop for books! 

The Sisters Grimm

1. The Sisters Grimm Series


This series is so much fun! My daughters absolutely love it.  It is considered a middle-level book for interest and reading ability.  My daughter is in 5th grade and zips through them with no issue.  If you are familiar with the Accelerated Reader (AR) book levels, most of the books fall between a 4.5 and 5.5 reading level, so use that to decide if it's in their range or not.  If you aren't familiar, it basically puts them in a 4th to 5th grade reading level.


Anne of Green Gables

2. Anne of Green Gables Graphic Novel

This one looks super cute.  We haven't read it yet, but I added it to their libraries on their Kindles for whenever they are ready for a new book.  I did an entire post on graphic novels (linked here), because my kids go absolutely bonkers for any graphic novel they can get their hands on, so I think they will enjoy this for sure.

Inside Out and Back Again

3. Inside Out & Back Again

We own this book in paperback.  It's really lovely and has won tons of awards.  It's written at a 4th or 5th grade reading level, and in verse form, but would be interesting for any middle level aged child. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

4. Harry Potter

Super exciting that the Harry Potter books are all included in Kindle Unlimited! There are a lot of good resources out there regarding when to start reading these books.  I think they are a fun read aloud, as well as reading once they hit the appropriate reading ability (they're considered like a 6th grade reading level, but keep in mind that children hit that at a variety of ages.)
Love That Dog

5. Love That Dog

This is a super fun looking book of poetry.  I can't wait to read through more of it! The premise is a boy learning to write poetry despite thinking it is "for girls" or "he can't do it" and ends up really finding his voice and enjoying it.  It looks like a cute read for kids and adults alike!

Ella Enchanted

6. Ella Enchanted

Such a fantastic book.  I'm so excited that this is included in Kindle Unlimited, and cannot wait for my girls to read it! It is considered a "4th grade" reading level, which makes it a great level for my 3rd and 5th grade daughters to both enjoy!  If you aren't familiar (where have you been!), it's a Newberry medal winning novel about a girl who was "gifted" obedience at her birth, but is too strong willed to accept it, and seeks out to break the curse.  It's a lovely fairy-tale and so much fun.

Laugh Out Loud Jokes

7. Laugh Out Loud Jokes

My kids love a good joke book!  Be prepared for a nonstop stream of jokes to come your way once they have this one, but so much fun.  It's also a good one to have on the Kindle to be able to pop in and read a few if they just have short snippets of time and don't want to get started on a chapter of a novel, or whatever.

Spiderwick Chronicles

8. Spiderwick Chronicles

We have not gotten into this fantasy series as of yet, but I do know there are movie adaptations as well.  It looks like a really fun series that my kids would enjoy, so we are planning to venture into it pretty soon! It's also written around a 4th grade reading level, which is really appropriate for a wide variety of elementary and middle level kids, in my opinion.
Sarah Plain and Tall

9. Sarah, Plain & Tall

This was such a staple required reading during my childhood! We were assigned it in elementary at some point, and it's a fun historical fiction read about a pioneering family for elementary aged kids.  I think my 3rd and 5th grader would thoroughly enjoy it, as they love this type of setting for stories.

Riddle Book

10. Difficult Riddles for Smart Kids

This is another one of those fun, family activity books that we just love around here.  My kids are so happy to have something like this to ask us about, and it's a fun way to have something to do with your kids when you have a few minutes to kill, or around the dinner table, or any time you just need a fun activity to engage with your kids.

There a a lot of kid books to choose from on Kindle Unlimited, and browsing through the list can take an eternity!  Hopefully this gives you a few to choose from without spending countless hours clicking through Amazon!

I may update with more titles as we sift through them all! Happy reading!

alison signature

January Beauty Favorites to Get Through Winter



Hi Friends! I'm not sure where you're reading this from- I really hope it's somewhere warmer and sunnier than us!  We are in Minnesota, and the month of January has been mildly cold and super cloudy.  The winter weather always wreaks havoc on my skin and hair for sure, so I compiled a list of my beauty faves from the month of January that have seemed to help keep some of the winter side effects at bay at least a little!

These are all items that you can pretty much find at your local Target, drugstore, or even toss in your virtual shopping cart and have delivered right with your groceries for convenience sake!  I love being able to add these to my weekly grocery pick up if needed- or for a quick Amazon Prime delivery. Also, while I love some higher end items, and think it can be worth it for some things,  I also love to find some that are more budget friendly as well- and these picks all do their job well at a great price point in my opinion!

*Please note that some of these links include affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my affiliate link I may earn a commission. This is provided at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own.





1.) Biore Charcoal Scrub

This charcoal face scrub is fantastic!  Even though my skin gets dry, I can still be prone to breakouts here and there and this face scrub helps so much!  If I am starting to see a breakout I will make sure to let it sit on my skin longer while I am in the shower, almost like a mask, to really let it do it's job.  My husband actually likes it as well so that's been great.


2.) Kristen Ess Signature Shampoo and Conditioner 

The Kristen Ess line at Target always draws me in.  I love the smell, I love the packaging, and thankfully they work great in my hair!  I love the basic shampoo and conditioner and swear they help the overall feel and quality of my hair- it's not just because of the yummy smell or pretty bottles in my shower!


3.) Jason Coconut Oil Moisturizer

Coconut Oil is my whole world (dramatic much?) - in the winter especially.  I slather it on my face as a makeup remover, after I wash it as a moisturizer, on my lips, my hands, etc.  If my children complain about dry lips or hands or any ailment whatsoever, I pass them the jar.  Funny tangent- I always think that coconut oil is to me, what Windex is to that family in the Greek wedding movies.  Do you remember that?  I swear I only saw the movie once but that Windex thing really stuck with me?!


4.) L'oreal True Match Lumi Foundation

This foundation has been my favorite for 2 winters in a row!  I hardly wear foundation as it is, and even less so in the summer months, but come winter and I'm reaching for this one for sure.  Like I said, I don't wear foundation on a daily basis by any means, typically just concealer on a regular day at home or picking up groceries, but if I have any sort of plans with the hubby, friends, school events, womens group, etc... I usually throw this one on.  I like it especially in the winter because it is so moisturizing.  Even if I have dry patches on my face (which definitely happens in the winter for me), it glides on smoothly and doesn't get gross and flaky, or draw any extra attention to those spots like a lot of foundations can tend to do. 


5.) Lavender Chamomile Tea

 I'm not sure if you'd consider this a beauty product exactly but.. it does make a huge difference in my beauty sleep?  I've been making a habit of getting my comfies on (current faves from Walmart linked here- so good!)  and making a mug of this chamomile and lavender tea every night when I get the kids jammied up, to help myself wind out and be ready for bed shortly after their bedtime, and it has helped immensely!  I really like the taste and coziness of it, and I have heard that this is a good brand of tea from a health standpoint... meaning they don't use plastic in bearothe tea bags, pesticides, etc.

What are your tried and true winter products?  Do you tend to use the same stuff year round, or have seasonal favorites like me? Leave it in the comments!