Great Gifts That May or May Not Be On Your List...

{Think Outside the Stocking}
If you're stuck trying to figure out what to get that certain someone let's see if we can't just get those wheels turning!  KSLAM (Ch 5 NBC affiliate in SLC)  & I have teamed up with some great products to get a few people checked off of that merry little list!

#1 Finis Neptune Underwater Music Mp3 Player
Yes! Underwater music at last!  Do you feel like you might be on an episode of Buck Rodgers? (Did I just say Buck Rodgers?! Ha!)  These are pretty amazing and quite futuristic. My husband LOVES his set and won't go swimming without them.  Really.

Somehow these nifty headphones use bone conduction to make music clear while underwater. Its actually amazing how clear they actually sound.  In fact, when you are out of the water the sounds is fuzzy but as soon as you are submerged its like you're at a live concert!

What I would have given to have these years ago when I was on the Swim Team in High School.  You can find the Finis Neptune on sale for $139.99.

#2 HexBug Nano 2
We are in love with these little bugs in the Ashby home.  They are like little pets for us.  We race them, cheer for them, mourn when we can't find them, and cry when their batteries run out.

If you've never seen them let me just say that they really do look like bugs crawling all over...but without the "ick" affect!  The vibrations of the battery inside the little bugs sets them running and its quite a site!

And now that have this awesome set called the Hexbug Nano V2 Black Hole!  These little critters actually crawl up the tubes and then fall down into the black hole only to find themselves climbing right back up!

 If you are looking for a fun gift that is sure to bring a smile to any child's face here you go! You can find these at and get the hexbugs ($4.99) separately or with a set like this Hexbug Nano V2 Black Hole ($49.99).  Get ready for some good times!

#3 HexBug AquaBot Fish with Fishbowl
Finally we can give the boys a pet for Christmas that won't require any extra TLC.  Maybe we can get a dog someday, but until then we'll be happy with this Hexbug robotic fish!

You can find this amazing little AquaBot at for $14.99.

#4 Lego Set
This is the go-to gift for any boy or even girl from 5-13.  Its easy and always a winner!  And if you know anything about Lego's, you know that boats are all the rave. They are hard to build so to get a set like this is always a treat! LEGO Legends of Chima Cragger’s Command Ship  ($79.99 at

And we are thrilled to have a new Lego Store in Salt Lake City! Yahoo!

#5 Trendy Ties Bow & Neck Ties
Now I bet you weren't expecting these little gems to be up next!  I had to include these as a great idea to put on that list!  The perfect stocking stuffer for any little tot.  (Especially because when they are this little they don't really care what they get...and the moms LOVE them!)

Trendy Ties are made here in the USA and are not only great quality but super cute!

So if you're looking for a little boys tie this is your place.

And you must take advantage of Trendy Ties $10 Tuesday deal!

Now go! Shop! And have a fun doing it!

Santa's Helper,
Emily aka "Toad"
+Emily Ashby

Cute Ornament Free Printable Gift Tags

Looking for a cute tag to add to any gift? Here you go! 

More coming soon!

Stocking Stuffers that Give Back!

{'Tis the Season to Give}
Giving back has never been so easy! I think most of us can agree that we are blessed...with family, friends, food, and a warm place to lay our heads.  This time of year is a perfect time to look for ways to give, but I'm often as a loss for the best way to do it.  

I was so excited when I was asked to do a TV (KSL Ch 5, NBC affiliate in SLC) segment on great products that give back!  It doesn't cost very much to help and these companies have made it so easy.  So if you have a choice...why not buy a product that can help someone else as well!

{Awesome Stocking Stuffers}
Each of these products are the perfect stocking stuffers!

#1: Kutoa (It means "to give" in Swahili)
These are healthy, natural bars somewhat like a Clif Bar...but when you buy one they donate a nutrition pack (with vitamins, minerals, and micro nutrients) through the World Food Program to a child in need.  Hunger is still the #1 cause of dealth in children under the age of 5 so this is an easy way to help a child. 

I had one of these for breakfast and it was darn good. You can find them in your area by heading to their website: (Price: $2.50 a bar.) 

The company also says:
The health you give these children will empower them to live a healthy life, go to school, and become a contributing member of their community. Eventually, these healthy communities can flourish and become sustainable."

#2 Smiles For the People
This company wants to improve dental health around the world!  These 100% biodegradable toothbrushes are not only practical, but when you buy one this company donates the equivalent amount of cash to a "Giving Partner" who aids in aiding in dental health around the world.

What a great stocking stuffer?! You can get yours at

From the Company:
"Our donations enable our giving partners to design locally appropriate interventions for their communities’ unique local needs. Because of the wide range of needs in the oral health field, and because toothbrushes can sometimes cause more harm than good for people in need of care, this strategy is more responsible than donating physical brushes."

#3 WINK (When In Need of Kindness)
Each of these sweet toiletry bags is packed with great goods...but the best part is that for each one you buy this company donates a bag to the Ronald McDonald House for families when they could really use it!

I LOVE the candle and the lip balm that his company offers as an option. Price ranges from $25-$40.  You can order yours at

From the Company:
"Your original WINK bag will have our custom all natural WINK lip balm, a 4 oz. shea butter soap and corresponding solid. It’s the perfect size for your phone, license, credit card and lip gloss and made from Dacron, the fabric most commonly used for the sails on sail boats. The fabric is durable, water resistant and wipes off easily."

#4 You and WHO
If you want to help people in your local area this is a great way to do it!  Each shirt you buy is not only designed by an artist in you area but the company will donate a shirt to a local organization that will distribute it to a person in need for you!

Here in Salt Lake they team up with these great organizations: Rescue Mission of Salt Lake, The Road Home, & Salt Lake City Mission.

They have some sweet designs...Denver and Portland are two of my favorites! You can get yours at for $42.

Here is also a list of similar companies doing GREAT things by donating one for one..

Baby Teresa ( (baby rompers)
Oak Lifestyle ( (backpacks) 
Twice As Warm ( (clothing)
Mitscoots ( (socks)

#5 Camera Coats
Of course I have to talk about this great company! Not only are all of the Camera Coats and Camera Straps Made in the USA but they are made by refugee women.

Other awesome way this company gives back is by teaming up with TURN Community Services who works with adults with disabilities and they make the tags, package, and ship all of the products!

Yet another great way to give back with an awesome product.  If you are looking for the best gift for any photographer, Camera Coats are the way to go! (They are making camera bags everywhere jealous. :)

PLUS get 30% off your purchase this week! Code: CW30  Expires: 12/8/13  OR enter to win a free Camera Coat HERE!

You can find the cute Camera Coats and Camera Straps at  Price ranges from $22-45.  The perfect stocking stuffer!

ALSO...there is a great website that features companies that give back! You can shop for just about ANYTHING and give back at the same time!

ROOTZ.    Check them out! 

Yay! Happy Shopping & Giving!

Santa's Little Helper,
Toad :)

+Emily Ashby

Table Topics & Other Great Conversation Starters for Any Gathering!

{Gather together}
Getting ready for the holidays can be so exciting!  The food, the lights, the hugs from those you've missed.  But what do you do once everyone arrives?  Whether you are gathering a group that has known each other for years or just meeting for the 1st time its always a good to have an idea or two that can bring everyone together!

Don't worry! I'm here to help! Here are some super ideas that will surely help you in your quest for a successful gathering.

#1: Table Topics.  

These are the best little square boxes you'll ever see.  They are full of questions on a variety of topics!  I picked the "Family Gathering" and "Infomania-Family" editions to highlight although there are a number of options to choose from.  (Including: Foodie, Sports, Heroes, Not Your Moms Dinner Party, etc.)

These are perfect for asking casual questions or dividing up into teams and seeing who really knows what!  The "Infomia" is loaded with questions and then stats to back them up...they are definitely thought provoking and are sure to start a lively conversation!  $25.


Table Topics was also voted Product of the Year by the Creative Child Awards for 2013!  NICE! 

#2 Family Topics | Party Topics = Sweet Place Cards

Place Cards are the "norm" for a get together, but if you want to really spice up the party add these awesome cards! Each one has a question that is a perfect way to get to those at your party or family gathering talking!  No stress.  It will happen on its own!  (Of course you could always make it a know how we all love those!) $12.50

#3 Guess Who?
This is a simple game, but can really get things rolling. As each person comes to the party/gathering have a pen and little pieces of paper ready!  Ask each person to write down something unique about themselves...maybe even something that no one else knows!  

Then when you are ready (around the dinner table, gathering in the front room, etc) read each piece of paper and have everyone guess who it is!  This is a really great way to bring people together whether they are meeting for the 1st time or have known each other for years! 

#4 Photo Albums
Yes, dust off those photo books and put them on that coffee table!  Any type of memory book will photo books, scrap books, or even old school yearbooks!   (At one get together with some old friends one of them actually brought an old report card and we had quite a good laugh!  Some of those classes we used to take were great:)) 

This is especially fun if you bring out old pictures of people who are attending your gathering.  Yes, pull out those big 80's hair and baby pictures!!

Whether you are gather your family, friends, or both they are sure to have a great time with a little preparation! Now let's go have ourselves some great conversations! 


Easy Fox DIY Shirts, Bags, and More For Those Fox Lovers!

{Say what?}
What does the fox say? 
Just in case you've been hiding in a cave and not a forest...come on out and let's talk foxes.  Yes, foxes.  Those orange-ish, cat-like creatures have quickly become all of the rage these days!

What started out as a "joke" of a music video has gone completely viral.   If you don't believe me just stand in a crowd (or around my 2 boys) and say the words, "What Does the Fox Say?"-- I promise you will get a range of interesting & random made up sounds like "Ya Ta Ta Ta Ya Ta Ta Tee Tee Tee".

And if your lucky, dancing may also accompany the strange noises. :)

The way I see it, there are a million things worse than a fox that our kids could let's embrace this little song and dance. :)  And if you really want to win points with the younger generation this Christmas go for something like this...

{This cute fox bag is for sale on Etsy for $25.}

As I was running jogging ;) the other day I thought about all of the fun we could have with this fad.  And so here are some DIY Fox ideas...with tutorials and a great deal of foxy fun to follow!

#1 What Does the Fox Say T-shirt
Rachel at Serendipity Designs (Etsy)  had the cutest fox that I could find.  So for $2.50 plus $2.00 for the custom wording I got an email with a PDF of this cute fox clip art!  In the next few days I will do a picture tutorial on how I made this cute fox shirt (using the fox as an iron on), but for now just feast your eyes on this sweet design!

But did I stop there? Oh, no!  Why not stick foxes everywhere!

#2 Cute Fox Bags (Made with Iron Ons)
If these simple bags don't get you excited about what the fox says I'm not sure what will.  These were so easy and something ANYONE would love!!

This little tote was made with digital art via Creative Market.  Set $8.  So sweet.  Once again, just printed them out on iron paper and ironed them right onto the bag. 

 #3 Fox in a Frame
If you want a great conversation starter I dare you to put this on your desk.  You will not only be super cool, but super foxy.

Just print out a fox...any fox...and put it in a cute frame.  I can totally do this!

#4 Stuffed Fox Plushie DIY
Coming soon will also be an easy tutorial about how to make these cute DIY foxes!  Inspired by my easy owls, these foxes are fun, fast, and make a great pillow or stuffed toy!

Now what do YOU say?! Well, you can catch these foxy ideas and more on KSL Ch 5 tomorrow morning at 6:45!  Ethan and I will be talking up foxes.

And the tutorials for these great projects will follow!

A Fox loving Toad
+Emily Ashby

What Does the Fox Say Stuffed Plushie Pillow

{What does the fox say?}
Oh yes...we did!  My friend Janeen and I went a little crazy last weekend and came up with this cute stuffed fox!  Since foxes are all the craze now we are excited to share the simple DIY tutorial with you...soon!  I just couldn't wait to show him off...

What does YOUR fox say? :)

+Emily Ashby

Think Outside the Frame: What to do with those Fall Family Pictures!

{Sweet photo products}
So now that you've "fought the good fight" & tackled the task of getting family photos taken you're ready to get some prints...right? Well hold your horses!  I've got some great ideas that take you beyond just sticking them into a frame or a Christmas card!

Emily Ashby Toad's Treasures

#1  The 1st product is this awesome metal print.  Yes, this is a photo printed on metal! Not only is it cute but obviously super sturdy & stylish!  These metal prints would make a great addition to any home or office! These come in a variety of sizes and cuts and they include the ribbon for hanging. Starting at $11 they are a great way to show off those photos! I love it. Black River Imaging

Emily Ashby Toad's Treasures

#2 The Family Book. Ah, so simple yet so great. Keep all those photos in one place by uploading to a book via Paper Coterie. The books all have templates so all you have to do is add the photos! 

You've just taken a bunch of pictures so don't just put one on the wall and the rest in the shoe box!  Your kids will love looking at the photobooks...and so will you! $22 Paper Coterie.

Emily Ashby

Emily Ashby Toad's Treasures

Emily Ashby

 #3 Swatch Books. Throw this on your coffee table!  Its like the paint swatch from Home Depot but with your photos!  Clever and unique...and what a great little holiday gift! $22 Paper Coterie.

Emily Ashby KSL Creative

#4 Floating Mounts.  I'm a huge fan of canvas prints.  I hate dealing with the hassle and mounting of a frame. Canvas makes it so easy to handle, hang, move, or store!  These canvas prints from Black River Imaging have an cool mount on the back that not only makes it easy to hang, but gives it an elegant look because it hangs away from the wall!
Starting at $25 Black River Imaging

Emily Ashby Toad's Treasures

Emily Ashby

#5 Poster Board of my favorite ways to print large pictures.  Economical, durable, and preserves a photo whether you hang it or put it in the attic.  Starting at $15 at Costco.

Emily Ashby DIY Toad's Treasures Family Photo Ideas

Emily Ashby DIY Toad's Treasures Family Photo Ideas

#6 Metal Christmas Ornaments. These speak for themselves!  Forget the paper or plastic ornaments, metal ornaments rocks family photos! Starting at $15 Black River Imaging 

Emily Ashby DIY Toad's Treasures Family Photo Ideas Christmas Ornaments Metal

Emily Ashby DIY Toad's Treasures Family Photo Ideas Christmas Ornaments Metal

#7 Desktop Photos  Everyone needs of these for their workplace whether its in corporate America or in your home office.  They are also great for above the sink in the kitchen...which everyone's work space, right?! You can easily change the photos around and they store nice and tidy in the bottom of frame. $25 Paper Coterie.

Toad's Treasures Family Photo Ideas

See...there is a light at the end of the family photo tunnel!  So many great products for great prices!  Thanks to Paper Coterie and Black River Imaging for providing these awesome products for me to share with you...I hand picked them myself and will LOVE having these in our home!

For more tips on how to have a great family picture you can see my last post on Fall Family Photo Tips.

Yay! Family photos are worth the work. Do you have any family photo ideas? Let's hear them in the comments!

+Emily Ashby

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