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Finding the Perfect Father’s Day Gift

When I was a little girl, my dad pretty much got one of two gifts; either a novelty tie or a bucket of Old Spice. He always made a big show out of loving the light up penguin tie or bottle of cheap aftershave, but let’s be real- he never made any use out of my well intentioned presents. I think I finally found him a gift he will use, and like, The Man Can! This gift is funny and cool, in a manly paint can container. So long Old Spice, hello Bay Rum scented moisturizer! My husband is another issue entirely. We have two small girls who are just beginning to understand what Father’s Day is, and I really want it to be special for everyone. What is the perfect gift for Dad? He helped my daughter make me an awesome bird feeder for Mother’s day, lovingly hand painted and sprayed with red glitter to attract my favorite songbirds. I don’t think we can hand craft a lung wrench or a part for his ’62 Impala, so I have been racking my brain for a cool gift that will give us family good times. Then, as always, Gifttree saved my bacon! He is a barbecue master and we have a fabulous new gift called the Terre Exotique Oils and Salts Travel Satchel. It has herbs and spice mixtures, seasoned salts and infused olive oils. I can already see him using his goodies for a family meal. Happy Father’s...

Father’s Day Contest

How does the contest work? We want to know – what is the best advice you’ve ever received from your Dad? Go to GiftTree’s Facebook page and become a fan. Find the Father’s Day contest post and leave a comment! What are the prizes? The winner will receive a Father’s Day Gourmet Grill Basket for their Dad, along with a $50 GiftTree gift card for themselves! Are there other ways to enter? Yes! You’ll get extra brownie points (meaning extra contest entries) for each of the following you do: 1).  Follow GiftTree on Twitter and Tweet “@GiftTree, Your Father’s Day Contest Rules!” 2).  Find the Gourmet Grill Basket on GiftTree’s Pinterest page and re-pin it. 3).  Follow GiftTree on Google+ What are the rules? The contest ends on Sunday, June 17th, 2012. Winner will be announced on or around Monday, June 18th, 2012 and will be announced on Facebook. Open to US residents...

Congratulations, Graduates!

Me graduating High School was nothing short of a miracle. It took a small army of people (Krystal, Mr. Hollands, my mom bribing me with Senior pictures (my sisters think I’m a tad vain)), and many hours of talking my Spanish teacher into giving me a passing grade. School just wasn’t my thing, but somehow I graduated and with a decent GPA, got killer senior portraits done and managed to never go to a full day of class my senior year. If I could tell my 18 year old self a few things this is what I would say: – Pay attention in Spanish, you will grow to regret it later! – Don’t invite that boy to prom, that is not going anywhere for you. – Spend as much time with your friends as possible, next year you will all be spread out, these moments are precious. – Don’t worry so much, everything turns out just fine! Encourage your graduate to live up (responsibly) the last few months in town before they dive into adulthood. Check out our Graduation Gifts to help them start celebrating the right...

I Love the 80’s… and Gourmet Popcorn!

I was fortunate enough to grow up in the 1980’s. To me, this was the GREATEST time ever. The best movies, the best music, the best fashion… but I digress. I do tend to get stuck in the past. I don’t know if this is because I still can’t get over that Milli Vanilli wasn’t real (Girl you know it’s true…) or because this was a moment in my life when some of my biggest worries were if my jelly shoes matched my banana clip or if Gordie and Vern were going to make it across those train tracks in Stand By Me (they did. Whew.). Ah, the good ol’ days. Some of my fondest memories of the 80’s include movie nights with my parents. We’d eat cheese and crackers, make up the Jiffy Pop, and pop a movie in the VCR and make a night of it. On special occasions, we’d go to the movie theater and get a HUGE tub of popcorn covered in as much butter as we could stand. These were my favorite times! In fact, once I even cancelled going to a slumber party at the Most Popular Girl In School’s house in favor of going to see Throw Mama From The Train with my parents on New Year’s Eve (which also happened to be their wedding anniversary so I’m sure they were looking forward to a kid-free ‘date’, but they never let on… how sweet!). Okay, back to reality. I guess I can’t live in the past forever. And I do have to admit, over the years, my palate has matured slightly. While...

Unconventional Moms

Although my mom is amazing (see my Mother’s Day blog)  I feel the need to give a shout out to the other important “Mom’s” in my life because who says the only Mom you have is the one who gives birth to you? From the day I was born my Auntie Verna has been a constant in my life. My mom and Aunt had kids right in line with each other (pretty ideal for all of us cousins) and we all grew up within walking distance of each other.  My fist sleep over was at her house, she always made us take 3 bits of everything on our plate (even if it was nasty canned green beans smothered in cream cheese) and she punished me just like a mother would (hello wooden paddle that sits on the ledge of the wall just taunting us). 🙂  My Auntie Verna is the next best thing when my own mom isn’t there to comfort me. I know I can rely on her for anything and is the first to step up when I need an extra pair of arms around me. My best friend Krystal’s family took a chance on me when we were in High School, inviting a girl they knew little about to tag along with their family to Hawaii for a vacation. I am not sure if they decided to keep me around of if I just refused to leave, but Cheryl (K’s Mom) took me under her wing and never let go. Over the years I know she grown to love me as much I as love her....

Mother’s Day

I attribute a lot of who I am to my mom and her guidance and love. She taught me how to rock a baby to sleep, to properly clean a bathroom (the key is bleach), and to let my hair down and have fun (though I’m still learning this one). She makes a mean chocolate chip cookie, can hit a softball out of the park and is always the first to step up when someone is in need. When I was growing up my mom didn’t have a conventional (read: out of the home) job. She and my dad had a small side business and we cleaned a dental office on the weekends. I loved that my mom was always there for us, not hindered by a work schedule or pressing deadlines. She was the neighborhood mom (everyone came to play in our yard, eat snacks and occasionally take a much needed hot bath), she was the one all the kids ran to for a band aid or a hug. In elementary school she helped in our classrooms and volunteered with students in a special program that was helping them reach their reading goals. When classmates didn’t have grandparents or special friends show up for events, she proudly proclaimed she was there to support them. As I grew older, and more defiant, my mom helped my through those awkward, “coming into your own” years. From advise on boys to convincing me that everyone should have 2 eyebrows (yes, I believe I got only the worst of my fathers Italian genes), she was there to guide me out of the...

Featured Employee – Summer Quatier

Summer is our Featured Employee for May! She works in the Business Development Dept here at GiftTree, and has been with us since 2008. She’s usually pretty busy, but we bribed her with chocolate and she agreed to answer our questions. 😉 1. If you had to live at GiftTree, and had friends over for dinner, which basket would you open for their enjoyment? If I had to choose one basket for dinner, it would hands down be the Gourmet Extravagance Gift Basket. That one is PACKED with delicious goodies. Can I add a bottle of wine too? 2. What are your top 5 favorite smells? I love the smell of fresh brewed coffee. If someone in the office makes a pot, I will be at their door with a cup in hand. 🙂 Other smells I like are the ocean, flowers, fresh cut grass, and wood burning in a fireplace. 3. If you had to pick, would you rather always be hot or cold? This is hard, but I’d rather be cold and layer up. 4. If GiftTree said they were going to send you on an all expense paid trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go? For my birthday? Thanks!! I would love to go to Bali. It has amazing tropical beaches, I could definitely spend some time there! 5. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Homemade ceviche.(Not the raw kind) It’s delicious with a lot of flavor, yum. This is why we love Summer… Summer is a hard worker who performs a...

Picture Perfect Mother’s Day Contest

I remember when I was little, my Mom could do no wrong! She was my hero, my best friend, my everything. She cut the crusts off my PB&J’s, walked with me to the store to pick out candy, and didn’t complain when I threw slumber parties with 12 screaming pre-teens. Moms are awesome, and we want to celebrate them! Enter our Picture Perfect Mother’s Day Contest by “Liking” us on Facebook and uploading your favorite photo of Mom to our Mother’s Day Contest page between May 1st, 2012 and May 12, 2012. The photo with the most votes will be declared the winner. Winner will be notified by announcement on our Facebook page on or around May 14, 2012. Prizes: The winner will receive a $150 GiftTree Gift Card for them, and a California Signature Wine Gift Basket valued at $174.95 for Mom.  In the event the winner requests that the prize be shipped to a state that cannot accept shipments of wine/champagne, the winner will be given the option of a non-alcoholic gift of equal value. Contest open to legal US residents...

Engravable Wind Chimes

I have the worst memory in the world. Let me rephrase that, I have the worst memory when it comes to things that matter. Somehow I hold onto random bits of knowledge that won’t ever help.. I mean they aren’t even the useful kind that might help me win Jeopardy, I can recall every episode of certain TV shows (ahem….Full House),  I grew up watching on TGIF and maybe most embarrassingly when it comes to DJ’s dating life….lets just say I am an expert. My sisters like to say I have made up memories because sometimes I just fill in the blanks to family stories I should know, or insert a new event in my life timeline, tho most often my “memories” are about what people wore.. Im not exactly sure where I come up with the outfits but my sisters assure me they aren’t real….. but i still think they might be…… Like I said, important memories (to the real world) are not something that come to the forefront of my mind. When I was in 3rd grade the only Grandmother I have ever know passed away from a long battle with cancer. While I remember painful details of her illness while she lived with us, sometimes it it hard for me to remember her healthy. My older sisters and cousins can recall special camping trips up to the lake, time spent watching her put her hair in pin curls at night and even the way she smelled. The bits and pieces I can put together are slim to say the least. I remember her husky laugh, they...

Earth Day

You don’t really notice it until you leave but growing up in the Great NW you see that Mother Earth has always been something in the forefront of our minds here. My parents made sure we spent time in nature, we had a garden (and played with the snakes in it), we know what it is like to hike in the old growth forest, build a fire, compost the yard clippings and of course recycle. In school recycling was the new hot thing to do (or that’s what us kids thought). Each room was equipped with its own containers (green mesh bag for colored paper and white for white- duh) , a place for plastic and the less popular aluminum…..I don’t know about you but we didn’t bring soda in our school lunches, it was juice boxes all the way. Recycling was everywhere, we’d use recycled paper scraps to make new art projects, we learned songs about ways to save the Earth in music class, and we’d go out into the playground and surrounding park to pick up trash and recyclables to make our school that much better. So as you can see, like I said, it is in my blood to recycle (of course I think it is in every Oregonians). When my dad was helping me move out several years ago we went out to toss some boxes in the yellow recycling bin – It is still hard for me to talk about what we saw in there – what my new roommate left in there…. In the garbage can there were fully assembled boxes with Styrofoam....

Top 5 Gifts for Baby

It is a well known fact that I have been to more baby showers than anyone else I know. Either I am way behind because none of them have been for me or I just really love a lot of people, I choose to think it is the latter. I have to admit, I don’t always look forward to them… Who wants to play the same games over and over, watch the one we are showering open the same pink blanket set 5 times or guess just how big mama’s belly really is with a piece of yarn, all while eating finger sandwichs and drinking “punch” made with sherbert (can’t a group of girls get together and have burgers and soda… I digress). Don’t get me wrong, I love gathering to honor my friends and their ever expanding families, to see the pure joy on the faces of the expectant mothers, and to celebrate the new life that will soon be with us, but for the most part many of the showers that I have attended lack imagination to put it nicely. Although I myself haven’t had a child, I’ve helped raise enough of other peoples to know; the newborn clothes they registered for will not be worn before the baby grows out of them, that the all wood toys are great in theory but lets be real.. kids like bling just as much as grownups do, and that as set in your ways that you are before the child is born….those ways are blown out of the water when you are actually caring for a new baby.    I’ve...

New for Spring!

Ah, Spring. How I love this time of year. It stays lighter outside longer, the flowers start blooming, and the birds start chirping. It’s definitely my favorite season! Typically around April, I like to tinker around in the yard when it’s nice, pulling weeds, planting flowers, getting rid of any signs of winter. I also always look forward to our spring time gifts here at GiftTree because I know there will be something I want! This year is no exception. This Handcrafted Birdhouse is so super cute! It was a featured gift on the 2011 Oprah’s “O List” and is environmentally friendly. The attention to detail on the birdhouse is so amazing, from the roof down to the flower box on the side of the house. I have the perfect spot to hang it on my front porch, and I can’t wait to get some little visitors....

Bubbles

There are many types of bubbles: soap bubbles, fun bubbles, gum bubbles, even spit bubbles.  Have you ever tried to blow a bubble and frown at the same time? Its pretty hard and you want to know why – Bubbles are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. that’s right, I said it! Some of my favorite memories working with kids include blowing bubbles (all sorts) to the point of getting light headed. I always had them packed away in my Nanny bag and made sure to have a few extra bottles of solution in the trunk of my car just in case. The thing about bubbles, whether it be with soap or gum, is that no matter how old you are they are fun. It might be weird, but I remember significant points in my life revolving around blowing bubbles;  At Church after Sunday School the teacher would let us pick a piece of gum from her stash, she had every kind under the sun.  As kids we’d spend hours on the porch with our friends trying to make bubbles big enough to stand in,  and in high school when we’d go on mission trips to Mexico – I’d ALWAYS take a big bag, or 4, of Double Bubble to hand out to all the kids down there, I’d teach them how to blow bubbles, we’d become friends – neither of us speaking each others language.  Maybe the most important to me, teaching Sydney (my greatest treasure who is now 9 years old) to blow her own bubbles. These moments, silly, to say the least, are significant moments in my life, but I cherish...

Who’s the Fool?

So one year I decided to play the ultimate April Fools joke on my friend here, Jen Crego. She had been harassing me and harassing me about having a baby so I had the brilliant idea to tell her I was pregnant! I marched into her office and announced the news. I’m pregnant! She was so excited that she welled up for a second. Then I blurted out APRIL FOOLS! Well, I guess the joke was on me… I was pregnant, but I didn’t even know it. Oh Brother, I’m never going to live that one down! My first born received the Baby MD Three-Peice Layette Set from my lovely co-workers. And my second actually wore it too! Moral of the story: Be careful what you say on April Fools, I may just come back to bite you! LOL...

Easter Egg Decorating

Photo courtesy of iheartmoms.com Okay – let’s talk Easter Eggs. Specifically, decorating Easter Eggs. I had no idea until recently how many ways there are to decorate an egg! I admit, I’m not the most creative person when it comes to stuff like this. Luckily, some of my co-workers certainly are, so we searched Pinterest and made an Easter Egg Decorating board on GiftTree’s Pinterest page to share with you! I invite you to check it out, get some ideas and if you plan to do any egg decorating this year, take a pic and enter it in our Easter contest to win a great prize!  Egg-cellent fun facts about Eggs:  To tell if an egg is raw or hard-boiled, spin it. Because the liquids have set into a solid, a hard-boiled egg will easily spin. The moving liquids in a raw egg will cause it to wobble.  The Easter egg roll on the White House lawn has been a tradition since 1878 Vegreville, Canada is the site of the world’s largest Easter Egg, weighing in at 5,000 lbs.! Very fresh eggs can be difficult to peel. To ensure easily peeled eggs, buy and refrigerate them a week to 10 days in advance of cooking. About 1 in 1000 eggs have a double...

Interview with the Sweet n’ Salty Snack Tower

I hear that this is a momentous occasion, Sweet n’ Salty Snack Tower. Call me Salty. And you’re absolutely right, Ben, I’m the first gift basket ever to be interviewed. I hate to break it to you, but technically I think you’re a snack tower. Tower shmower. Same thing. Well, I think The Grand Gourmet would disagree with you there. The Grand Gourmet? Let me tell you something about the Grand Gourmet. He’s threatened. That’s right. He knows I’ve got something he doesn’t. And that would be? Well, I’m taller. Anything else? Uh…Cookies? Yeah, cookies! All kinds! I’ve got Vanilla Frosted, Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle, Peanut Butter, and Lemon Blueberry. I’ve got gourmet white cheddar popcorn too and spicy snack mix. I think there are some awesome citrus gems and raspberry tea cookies in here somewhere too. Yeah, here they are. I’ll put those up against Grand Gourmet’s biscotti any day. Grand Gourmet does have Godiva Chocolate, you know. *Sigh* Don’t remind...

Bucket List

Who isn’t a sucker for a good love story – even those who say they aren’t are… They’re lying if they dont tell you that they swoon when Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy end up together, or when Noah reads “their” story to Allie when she’s suffering from Alzheimer’s, and whats even better is being able to enjoy these stories both in written form and on the big screen.   One of my favorite movies/books “A Walk to Remember” by Nicholas Sparks was both beautifully written and also very well done in the theater.  Its so exciting to see if you and the director “read” the book the same way. In this movie Jamie has a list of things she want’s to accomplish before she dies (Spoiler Alert** If you havent seen/read it – she has cancer and they can’t do anything about it so she decides to make the most of what is left of her life instead of dwelling on what will soon be). On her list of what she wants to accomplish are things like get a tattoo, have a star named after her  (Name a Star Gift Set),  get married in the church her parents did (Wedding Blessings Box), and witness a miracle (Welcome Home Baby Basket).  All the while Landon is pursuing a relationship with her, he takes it upon himself to help her knock off some of the things on her list while she encourages to make his own list. At the end of the movie Landon says to Jamie’s dad “Im sorry she never got her miracle” – and he responds “She did,...

An Interview with Eggling…

Hello, Eggling. Eggling? Oh, yes, sorry. I thought you were here to crack me open. Why would I want do that? Well, apparently word has been getting around about the seeds that have been planted inside me. Everyone wants to crack me open with some metallic utensil and get those little plants growing. I take it you aren’t in favor of this. Look, how would you feel in my position? I see your point. This isn’t a Ridley Scott sci-fi movie, you know. No, it’s significantly cuter. *sigh* That’s the whole problem. Japanese people have been buying me up by the dozen for years, and now GiftTree will be shipping me around the world for people to take a whack at. Is that all you have to do? Crack open your top? Well, in theory I would need water and sun too, but it’s not like…hey, what are you doing with that spoon? Is that a watering can? Hey! Hey! *interview cut off* We’re making Eggling grow! Click here to watch it’s progress on...
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