6 Great Gift Ideas for Guys

I have three little brothers.

If you’re a regular reader who didn’t already know that, this might give you a case of the “OH! That explains so much!” because…yeah.  Living in a male-dominated household has had more than one effect on me.  Sometimes I laugh at jokes that are less-than ladylike.  I can’t host Super Bowl parties, because I give up on actually hosting once the game comes on (confirmed: ability to run for beers between downs).  Last night, I went to Django Unchained–when Terantino comes around, Les Mis will just have to wait.  And although I never got too into cars or video games, I can pretend to care like a boss.

BUT AT LEAST I DRESS CLASSY LIKE THIS. Right?
AT LEAST I DRESS CLASSY LIKE THIS. Right?
(okay, so this is more accurate)
(yeah, this is more accurate)

Perhaps this would have happened without the male influences–my mom has a tomboy streak herself (though she also had 6 brothers growing up).

For the little brothers, Christmas and birthdays are a time for me to drop the “pretending to care” and, you know, show that I actually care—maybe not about Halo, but definitely about the boys themselves. Typically, this is done with a present.

Yikes.

Buying gifts for dudes sucks. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, my HUGE blessing of having so many fantastic men in my life became a serious curse. They’re so different:  The youngest and I will talk on the phone for hours about football standings and lockout drama.  The oldest is a minimalist and gamer who just moved out (the “strong but silent” type, let’s say). The middle brother is outdoorsy, social, hilarious, and looks too much like Justin Bieber to be up to any good.  They’re all wonderful, and funny, and I could legitimately brag about them ALL DAY.   But I cannot figure out what to buy for them, at least not without a solid dose of creativity or inspiration. And even though they’re always like “Dude. Timmy’s card. It’s really not that hard, Shauna,” I feel like I need to…not do that. Because my siblings are a huge blessing, and I want to do my best to show them that.

Though a Timmy’s card is a pretty great gift, too.

This Christmas, the boys (my three brothers and dad alike) did pretty well, despite how painful the picking was. Between each other, myself, my mother (and the dog, for some reason) we ended up figuring it out. And since I know what a pain it can be, I thought I’d  share with you some of my favourite gifts for guys that came out from under our tree:

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Foodie Gift Idea for the New Mom

“And so it begins!”

It has started, my friends. I had my first-ever trek to the maternity ward to visit a post-C section friend. My former manager Melannie just gave birth to an amazing baby boy, and my sidekick Caitlin and I were beyond excited to head down to Ottawa General and welcome him into the world.

Babies, you guys. Oh man. My ovaries pretty much exploded.

(Also…does anyone else get REALLY nervous when holding a baby? I mean, sometimes I can throw enough PR spin on my clumsiness to make it charming, but I don’t think there is anything “charming” about dropping a newborn. Holding the kid was amazing [recall: ovaries exploding] but also completely and totally terrifying. Yet another “how do nurses do this?! They must be wizards.” moment.)

The reason I write about this for a Home-style post is to share the gift that Caitlin and I came up with for this lovely momma.

Melannie is a foodie hailing from the East coast, so it wasn’t surprising that she openly missed some of the foods that are unsafe for baby-carrying. Think about it: seafood, cured meats, cheeses, alcohol, eggs…it’s all a no-can-do for the cautious pregnant woman. And for the cautious foodie pregnant woman, that makes for a pretty long nine months.

….actually, I think the whole “carrying another human being around in your stomach” thing also makes for a long nine months, but for the sake of this post: THINK OF THE CHEESE!!

So Caitlin and I set to work on a gift basket of foods that she had avoided for so long, but could now enjoy post-pregnancy.

Here are all the foods Melannie had to avoid during her pregnancy:

Certain cheeses, like feta, goat, camembert, and brie, can carry listeria. Not great for baby.
Pregnant women are supposed to avoid raw or soft-boiled eggs. Also, we had to get quail eggs because…they’re a thing you can get.
I don’t think a pregnant women is supposed to eat this dude, either…
…so we picked up a sample. Sort of.

Of course, we grabbed some celebratory wine and Guinness, the ever-classic Momma’s milk.

There were two major challenges in the making of this gift:

1) How do we openly discuss which foods to NOT give a pregnant woman, then purchase said foods, without looking like we are trying to damage a pregnant woman?

2) How do we wrap this stuff up in the middle of the mall, armed with only ribbon and cello from the dollar store?

(The answer to #2 is by being as awkward and resourceful as humanly possible. Fun fact: cursing out quail eggs DOES in fact make you look like a crazy person.)

Photo creds to Caitlin here, who documented me wrestling with the gift basket game.
Using keys for scissor works. Or at least, it works…well enough. Ish.
This is what dealing with well enough-ish cut cellophane looks like.

But in the end, of course, we had an awesome foodie gift basket and were set to welcome a new little man into the world…and make sure his momma didn’t have to go one more day without some good Guinness and salmon!

Happy birthday, newbie!