Category Archives: Creative Gift-Giving

A Merry Little Gift Guide

Having trouble figuring out what to give some of your family and friends? Some of these ideas may help you out! And all of these items can be purchased online if you don’t like fighting the holiday shopping crowds! There’s still a few weeks before Christmas, so you should be able to purchase any of these items!

  1. The Coffee & Chocolates Gift Basket. Who doesn’t love coffee and chocolate? This gift basket has a collection of fine chocolates, truffles, cookies, biscotti and more, along with a collection of premium ground coffees. It’s always fun to receive a gift like this in the mail! Have this basket of goodies sent right to your recipients’ home! Mug not included. At GourmetGiftBaskets.com.
  2. Local Hive Honey. Natural, raw, unfiltered honey…created by bees as if “it was from your own backyard.” Give honey from your local area or from your recipient’s local area—choose from 16 different local varieties like Local New England, Local Colorado, Local Florida, Local Texas, and more. Makes a great gift for people who love honey and who love to eat healthy! At LocalHiveHoney.com.
  3. A new Christmas album by pianist and composer Paul Cardall. Simply titled “Christmas,” this soundtrack has a stunning instrumental collection of timeless Christmas classics, such as “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “Joy to the World.” Some selections feature vocalists, including CeCe Winans’ extraordinary performance of “O Holy Night.” A wonderful collection and a great gift…you may want to buy a one for yourself, too! At PaulCardall.com. Also available at Amazon.
  4. An Old-Fashioned Christmas. A holiday gift book filled with a collection of inspirational, humorous, and classic Christmas quotes that celebrate the meaning and spirit of the Yuletide season. Perfect for any book lover—and it makes a great stocking stuffer too! At HatherleighPress.com. Also available at Amazon.
  5. Handcrafted Lip Balms. The perfect gift for the DIY-ers in your life: a great make-your-own lip balm kit that includes 5 lip balm pods, beeswax, easy-release silicone mold, and instruction booklet for making all-natural lip balm. All packaged in a handy kit! At Quarto and Amazon.
  6. (in)courage Devotional Bible. Features 312 devotions by the (in)courage community writers. Includes resources for women to explore the Bible and dive deep into Scripture, with 10 thematic reading plans, stories of courage about 50 women of the Bible, and journaling space for personal reflection. At DaySpring.com and Amazon.

Happy shopping and hope you are enjoying the holiday season!

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Spa Spring Gift Basket

Happy first day of spring! I hope you had a beautiful day! I’m not a big fan of cold winter weather, but I love the warmer days of spring! I love seeing the flowers outside begin to bloom and the longer, sunnier days. I’m really glad spring has arrived!

Something else arrived at my doorstep recently–this Premium Spa Gift Basket, compliments of GourmetGiftBaskets.com. It was just what I needed–a farmhouse-style wire basket filled with lots of pampering spa products like scented lotion, triple milled bath soap, body wash, comfy terry cloth slippers, a 4 points massager, pumice brush, skin smoothing brush, massaging bath brush, wooden foot brush, sea sponge, and loofah. It was such a treat to receive this basket, and I’m enjoying using all the spa items so much! With Easter coming up, this basket would be a great gift for a mom, sister, or friend who needs and would enjoy some pampering. It also makes a great springtime birthday gift. There are several other spa-themed baskets you can choose from at the Gourmet Gift Baskets site, including the Classic Spa Gift Basket and Bath & Snack Gift Basket.

If you’re looking for other Easter gift basket ideas, you’ll find a large selection to choose from at GourmetGiftBaskets.com. They offer baskets filled with candy and toys for the kids. Or Easter cakes, cake pops, popcorn tins, chocolate dipped strawberries, cheesecakes, and other treats for anyone who loves sweets. For healthier eaters, there are baskets of fresh fruits, dried fruits, and nuts. And there are also baskets filled with gourmet meats, cheeses, and crackers–so there’s quite a selection! You’ll have to visit the site to see all that Gourmet Gift Baskets has to offer.

Are you excited spring is here too? And what’s your favorite way to pamper yourself?

Gifts that Change a Life from World Vision and a Giveaway!

ncworldvision2016

The Christmas shopping season has begun once again and gift-giving is on everyone’s mind…the perfect time to tell you about some gifts that help improve the quality of life for struggling children and families living in extreme poverty in the U.S. and around the world. The 2016 World Vision Gift Catalog invites you to Share Big Dreams this Christmas by not only giving a gift, but changing a life. And, World Vision is sponsoring a very special giveaway of beautiful handcrafted items made by artisans from around the world, which I’ll tell you about in a minute!

worldvisioncatalogBut first, in case you’re not familiar with World Vision, here’s some information about World Vision and their gift catalog:

  • The 2016 World Vision catalog is the 21st annual edition, and offers more than 100 meaningful gifts. Plus, there are more than 250 items available for giving online at www.worldvisiongift.org.
  • Popular items being given from the catalog to those in need include a goat and two chickens, clothing for children, ducks, and medicine.
  • Over 30 gifts in the catalog are $35 or less, including gifts like chickens, job training, or school supplies.
  • 84% of World Vision’s operating expenses are used for programs that benefit children, families, and communities in need, and they provide assistance to people in almost 100 countries.

Here are some ways you can support World Vision:

  • Choose a gift to donate…give a gift to help a child or family, from farm animals to farming tools, by going to www.worldvisiongifts.org or call 1-855-WV-GIFTS. Hard copies of the catalog are also available upon request.
  • Gifts can be given in honor of a loved one. Cards can also be printed or emailed from the website at any time to let an honoree know that something special has been given in their name this Christmas.
  • You can give a general donation to be used Where Most Needed…a one-time gift that will go towards needs that might otherwise go unmet.
  • You can donate and receive a handcrafted gift for yourself or for someone else–this donation will go to Where Most Needed. Choose from a variety of items like the beautiful Vietnamese Silk Scarf, Upcycled Artisanal Bowl, Thai Patchwork Tote, Drops of Turquoise Earrings, and much more. There are so many beautiful, unique handcrafted gifts online at the World Vision site!

I hope you’ll take some time to visit the WorldVison.org and learn more about how they are helping people worldwide and how you can be a part of that! You can also follow World Vision on social media: Facebook: /wordvision; Twitter and Instagram: @WorldVisionUSA

Now for the giveaway! The Giveaway is now Closed! The winning comment was #1, made by Pam!

worldvisiongiveawayThis giveaway, compliments of World Vision, includes 6 items worth $530. They’re pictured in the top photo and in the photo to the left: an Upcycled Artisanal Bowl, a package of Organic Coffee with a coffee scoop, a beautiful Vietnamese Silk Scarf, a Tree of Life Votive Holder, a Turquoise Medallion Necklace, and a Mango Wood Beaded Bracelet.

If you’d like to enter to win this giveaway from World Vision, leave a comment on this blog post telling me what your favorite gift item is from the World Vision site. Leave your comment on this blog post between now and Thursday evening, December 1, at 8 p.m. (CST). The random drawing will be made from comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and the winner will be notified via email later  Thursday evening or Friday. If winner does not respond within 48 hours, I will do another drawing. This  Giveaway is limited to readers in the Continental U.S.

First entry:  Leave a comment on this blog post telling me what your favorite gift item is from the World Vision site.

Bonus entry (one per person): Follow my blog by email or on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram–If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

Note: If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry–it just means I haven’t had the chance to click on it to approve it before it becomes visible!

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Gifts That Give Back from World Vision

World Vision Gifts

WorldVisionNow that the Christmas shopping season is underway and gift-giving is on our minds, I thought it would be a great time to tell you about some gifts that help benefit children and families living in extreme poverty in the U.S. and around the world. The 2015 World Vision Gift Catalog invites you to not only Give a gift, but Change a life. Here’s how you can be a part of that:

  • Choose from more than 250 gifts ranging from $16 to $39,000 to help improve the quality of life for struggling children and families.
  • You can choose a gift to donate…gift a family with a goat, chickens, or other farm animals; fruit trees, farming tools, or seeds; or gift a child with an education.
  •  You can choose a handcrafted gift for yourself or a friend or family member–like the Prosperity Cinnamon Box, a beautifully carved cinnamon bark box holding 3 oz. of cinnamon. Or you may decide on the Hand-Carved Wooden Serving Spoons, History’s First Coffee Blend, or a Fair-Trade Wire Artisanal Bowl. The money raised from each purchase of a hand-crafted gift goes to the Where Most Needed fund, helping the most urgent needs of a child, family, or community. Delivery for handcrafted gifts like these is 7-10 days.
  • Gifts can be purchased/given in a loved one’s name.
  • You can choose to have a personalized card sent along with your gift describing the gift and its life-changing impact.

WV Cinnamon Box

Shown above is the Prosperity Cinnamon Box that World Vision sent me, so I’ve seen firsthand how beautifully hand carved it is. Filled with 3 ounces of Vietnam’s renowned sweet cinnamon collected from the Cassia tree, it would make a special gift for anyone who loves to use cinnamon in recipes! The Asian character for prosperity is carved into this unique cinnamon bark box.

The World Vision Gift Catalog’s first issue came out in 1996, and it continues to grow in popularity every year as a meaningful way to give and help others. In 2014 alone, more than 822,000 people were helped through the funds raised by the gifts featured in the catalog.

You can keep updated on news from World Vision via Facebook and Twitter 

Olive Oil Soap

OliveOilSoap2

Photo courtesy of The Best Homemade Natural Soaps: 40 Recipes for Moisturizing Olive Oil-Based Soaps by Mar Gomez, 2014 © www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.

Have you ever made your own soap before? I really like the idea of using homemade soap with natural ingredients and have been interested in trying to make some myself. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to review the new book, The Best Natural Homemade Soaps: 40 Recipes for Moisturizing Olive Oil-Based Soaps (Robert Rose, softcover). 

UnknownThe book starts off by sharing some interesting history about soap making. In ancient times, soap mainly consisted of a mixture of boiled fat and ashes. The first people to make olive oil soap were the Syrians, several thousand years ago in the city of Aleppo. “The women of Aleppo realized that by adding ground bay leaves to soap, skin infections were reduced considerably; the leaves from the bay plant possess an extraordinary natural antiseptic.” And other soap-making discoveries continued over the centuries.

This book also includes preparation tips and utensil and ingredient guides so you have everything you need to make your own olive oil-based soap. The step-by-step instructions seem easy to follow and include information on therapeutic qualities of the natural soap additives in each particular recipe–additives like essential oils, beeswax, cocoa butter, kaolin clay, seaweed, and goat’s milk. Some of the 40 different soap recipes include Kiwi Soap, Lavender Soap, Marigold Soap, Seaweed Soap, Green Tea Soap, Chocolate Soap, Coconut Soap, Cinnamon Soap, Rosemary Soap…and many more great-sounding versions!

OliveOilSoap1

Image from The Best Natural Homemade Soaps

I was going to try making the basic Olive Oil Soap recipe. The ingredients are simple and basic enough–mineral water, lye (caustic soda), and extra virgin olive oil. However, I wasn’t able to find lye in any stores near me, so I guess I’ll have to order some from a soap-making supplier (there’s a list at the back of the book). In the meantime, I have permission from the publisher to share the recipe with you! Note: You’ll need safety goggles, a large saucepan, and a kitchen thermometer to make this soap.

OLIVE OIL SOAP from The Best Natural Homemade Soaps

  • 7.5 oz. mineral water
  • 3 oz. lye (caustic soda)
  • 1.5 lbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • Scent (optional), store-bought or homemade
  1. Wearing gloves and goggles, pour mineral water into a large saucepan. Add lye slowly, stirring gently until it is dissolved.
  2. Using a thermometer, monitor the temperature of the lye mixture until it is between 120˚F and 140˚F.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, heat olive oil to between 120˚F and 140˚F.
  4. Remove olive oil from heat. Add lye mixture to olive oil, stirring slowly and trying not to splash.
  5. Stir occasionally, every 15 minutes or so, until the mixture thickens and congeals (it will have a texture similar to that of light mayonnaise).
  6. Stir in scent (if using). Stir for 1 minute with a spoon (or with a whisk, taking care not to create foam).
  7. Pour into a greased or paper-lined soap mold. Gently tap mold to remove any air bubbles.
  8. Cover with a blanket or towel and let stand for 2 days. Uncover and let stand for an additional day if the mold is very large.
  9. Turn soap out of mold. Wait another day, then cut into bars as desired.
  10. Dry bars for 1 month, turning occasionally to ensure they are drying uniformly.
Soap recipe from The Best Homemade Natural Soaps: 40 Recipes for Moisturizing Olive Oil-Based Soaps by Mar Gomez, 2014 © http://www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

 

This sounds like a great soap for your skin! Homemade soap is a great DIY gift idea, too! Do you use or have you made any olive oil-based soap, or any other kinds of soap?

Linked to Thursday Favorite Things.