favorite Birthday gifts for kids

Christmas is coming quickly! But we also have lots of young friends and family with fall and winter birthdays. Below are some of favorite options for younger kids by age. And if you’re getting a head start, these would be great ideas for Christmas as well. We’ve given most of these as gifts before, and they’ve always been a hit! Links are below the graphic….

Favorite kids birthday gifts

1. A sweet activity bear, with lots of fun things to grab and hold  2. Squigz (so great to attach to a tabletop!) 3. A truck that’s easy to grab for little hands 4. Wooden animal blocks (that are also a puzzle!) 5. A cute bunny stacking toy 6. A fun whale bath toy 7. A sweet plush monkey 8. Pretty, wooden magnetic blocks 9. Soft, felted hand puppets 10. A wonderful book to encourage art and creativity 11. A magnetic drawing tablet (easy to bring along) 12. Plush fruit, in a cute wire basket 13. An adorable night light for a cozy bedtime 14. A great balance bike, to help get ready for the big-kid version 15. A pair of binoculars, for hikes and adventures 16. A kid-sized ukelele (ready for family band) 17. Indoor bowling (really for the whole family) 18. A nature activity book with great illustrations

Ellen CutaloComment
Father's Day Gifts

May is running quickly toward June, and Father's Day is just a few weeks away!  Since I think dads are usually the hardest ones to shop for, here are a few ideas to help get you started:

Fathers Day Gift Guide

1. A fun photo box with a big collection of favorite pictures  2. A grown-up backpack for work or play  3. A pretty mixing glass for perfect Manhattans  4. A warm pullover for cool spring evenings  5. A sweet, hand-painted card  6. A portable fire pit for parks, backyards, or campsites  7. A really delicious and special bottle of whiskey  8. A to-go cup for fresh cold brewed coffee  9. A cool, retro baseball cap  10. A baking steel for the best homemade pizza  11. A new step tracker for best intentions  12. Some fancy, delicious hot chocolate

Some gift ideas for Mother's Day

It's finally feeling like spring here in Minneapolis, the year is moving right along, and now Mother's Day is just a couple weeks away. A little gift inspiration for the mothers and honorary mothers in your life:

Mother's Day gift guide.jpg

1. A pretty potted plant (lasts so much longer than fresh flowers)  2. A bright, fold-over leather clutch  3. A new blanket for spring picnics and summer beach days  4. Fancy gold earrings  5. Fresh stripe-y pajamas  6. A sweet, floral letterpress card  7. A pretty teapot  8. Beautiful, hand-printed napkins  9. A lovely walnut cutting board (also great for serving cheese)  10. Special tea from France (in such pretty packaging)  11. Homemade brownies are always a winner  12. A great sculptural vase

GiftsEllen CutaloComment
Rosemary Currant Scones
rosemary currant scones

I have an extreme and enduring love for scones, but that also makes me very picky about them -- there are some very bad ones around. We made these for Easter brunch last weekend, and they are definitely a favorite; they're tender and flaky and not that sweet, but with a sugary top crust. I've made them several times before as well, and I find the recipe to be pretty fool-proof.  You can make these into larger scones, but I love the mini size.

Adapted from the Ovenly cookbook (which is all-around great!)


  • 1 stick (112 grams) chilled, unsalted butter
  • 3 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar (62 grams), plus more for the tops
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (18 grams) baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (130 grams) dried currants
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream, plus more for brushing

Cut the butter into 1/4" chunks and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the chilled butter until butter is in small pieces (smaller than pebbles). Add the currants and rosemary, and stir with a spatula to combine. Pour in the heavy cream, and stir with the spatula until the flour is almost fully incorporated; don't mix this more than you need to.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, and divide into two even portions (if making mini scones). Working with one piece at a time, form into a rough round of dough; if it's really crumbly, you can cut the dough in two pieces, and stack them together, sandwiching the dry bits in between. Smush it back down into a small round, about 3/4" thick. Wrap well with plastic wrap, and chill until firm, about an hour. Repeat with second round of dough. (If you'd like to make larger scones, just form the dough all into one round.)

Once chilled, take the dough out and cut into 8 wedges like a pie. Wrap well and freeze.

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange scones on baking sheet with at least an inch between. Brush tops with heavy cream, and then top each with a generous amount of sugar. Bake, turning once, until golden brown, 22-28 minutes. Makes 16 mini scones, or 8 large.