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Category "Birthday"

The Gift of Song | Family Recording Studio Session

When Judy, a co-worker of mine, had her grandchildren visit her, she planned all sorts of events for them to do. One of them was a private recording studio session at my oldest son Dustin’s recording studio. He had just started his home recording studio business at the time.

Gift of Song Family Recording Studio Session Gift Idea

Dustin hangs out in his recording studio.

Judy’s granddaughters had the time of their life recording in the studio, singing into a mike with headsets on, and making a real CD. They thought it was the coolest experience ever! What a story to tell their friends and family back home. They gave a copy of their newly released CD to their parents who cherished such a unique gift!

The idea of recording a CD led another co-worker, Tiffany, and her family to record Jingle Bells for their grandmother who lived in a different city. Practice began at the studio because there were lots of starts and stops, goofs and giggles, and funny family fodder during the recording session.

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Premium Olive Oil and Vinegar With State-shaped Cutting Board

My boss Holley and I are kindred spirits in that we both looove to cook. We like to tell each other about the new recipes we’ve tried and if any are rock stars we share them. Well, what do most recipes start with?

Extra virgin olive oil. So I thought I’d get her some premium olive oil this year for Christmas, along with some aged balsamic vinegar and a State-Shaped Cutting Board. OKLAHOMA of course! Represent.

Premium Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar With State-shaped Cutting Board Gift Idea for Cooks I visited a store that specializes in premium extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars and man was my mind buh-lown!  They had their oils and vinegars infused with all sorts of fantastic flavors – chipotle, jalapeno, lavender, espresso, chocolate and on and on. They even had butter infused olive oil. Perfect for drizzling over popcorn. Mmmmm.

It gets better. The store allows you to sample all of their flavors, and they even provide the bread. I was like a kid in a candy store!

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Socks and Underwear for Christmas | Family Traditions

My grandparents never forgot the Great Depression. Granddaddy talked about not having “one red cent!” Everything was bartered. They traded farm-raised pigs, cattle, chickens and what they grew in their garden for sugar, flour and other necessities. Necessities were all they thought about. There was never any money leftover for extras.

Christmas Socks Gift IdeaEven as their lives improved after the Great Depression ended, my grandparents never stopped being frugal with their money. It was a way of life. They purchased a home and paid it off in five years. (Unheard of these days!)

They purchased new cars every three to five years with a note to pay them off in a year. Everything else was paid in cash and what they did buy was always very modest. Like I said, no extras. Not even for their grandchildren.

You always knew what they were getting you for your birthday and Christmas – socks and underwear. What kid looks forward to that?? At the time, we just didn’t understand where they were coming from.

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Birdseed Ornaments for Bird Lovers

My mother Robyn has always been very hard to shop for. She likes to lead a simple life and doesn’t desire many material things. I think she’s really cool that way. Because of that, I have had to come up with very thoughtful gifts to give to her over the years. Looking back, it really prepared me to start this blog. Thanks Mom!

Some people love dogs and cats. My mother loves her birds. In her backyard, she has created a bird sanctuary. Bird houses, bird feeders and a bird bath (and a cat free zone) attract all sorts of birds year round, and it brings my mother joy to watch them from her large kitchen window.

Birdseed Ornaments for Bird Lovers Gift IdeaMost people put up their bird bath in the winter but my mother keeps hers out year round, and she uses an immersion heater to keep the water from freezing. She also doesn’t just feed them bird seed. She has a special bird feeder that holds apples, and she peels off part of the skin so they have an easier time eating it. Moms think of everything!

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How to Make an Ice Scraper Someone’s Favorite Gift

I’ve been trained all my life in gift giving. I just did not realize it. My mother always asked me to help her come up with ideas for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and special occasions for family and friends. She loved giving gifts, and she was great at gift ideas too! Watching someone open her gift thrilled her as much as the person receiving the gift.

This next gift idea was my mother’s Christmas gift to her grandsons.

Icescraper Money Holder Gift Idea

Braden still uses the ice scraper that his grandmother gave him for Christmas. She had hidden money inside it to his surprise and delight!

Dustin and Braden were in their early 20s and she asked me what they wanted for Christmas. I said, “Money.” Dustin was saving for a new guitar and Braden wanted a new computer.

Even if the adults had pooled our money together to purchase these items for a surprise, we had no idea on the make or model they wanted. So money it had to be.

But Mother never just gave money. She always found a clever way to do it.

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Art That Imitates Life

My friend Janet and I enjoy visiting museums. One of our favorites is the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. There are literally thousands of paintings by artists of various time periods.

Art That Imitates Life GiftsThere we were walking from gallery to gallery when we came upon a painting that took up an entire wall. Although painted in 1879, the colors were still amazingly vibrant.

We both stared at the massive painting in awe when I said, “That’s you and me!”

It was a painting of two women – one with red hair and the other a brunette – living in a palace overlooking the sea. It was named The Favorite of the Emir by Jean Joseph Benjamin Constant. We laughed and joked of being pampered as royalty then moved on to the next gallery.

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For Mommies Everywhere | Babysitting Certificates

Mommies want to take bubble baths. Mommies want to go on date nights. Mommies want to go shopping. Mommies want to get more sleep. Mommies want some precious “ME” time. What makes it possible for us to do these things? Babysitters!

Sunburst Gifts Babysitting Gift Certificate Yellow SampleIt had been 13 months since my son Aiden had been born and I had not been to the movies. That sucked because I looove movies.

It was just that my husband Kevin and I lead busy lives so we needed someone to watch Aiden for more important events than going to the movies.

It was an instance of not wanting to bother friends or family to watch him and not wanting to pay for a babysitter. I mean babysitters are NOT cheap these days. Teenagers have to be able to pay for gas and college. Neither of those are cheap either.

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Nostalgia of Owning a Volkswagen Bug

My boss Dennis and I have compared many stories of our Volkswagen Bugs we drove during our college years. There was no better car for poor college kids. They were inexpensive to buy, inexpensive to maintain, and inexpensive to fill up with gas. The key word here is inexpensive! And when other fancier vehicles were stuck in the snow, the Bug could travel on by.

Volkswagen Bug rental car gift

My boss Dennis gets ready to drive down memory lane in his Volkswagen Bug rental car my co-workers and I bought him as a Christmas present.

The nostalgia of owning a VW Bug is a strong and wonderful feeling. Imagine giving someone the gift of reliving such a feeling!

We did just that for Dennis. Last year for Christmas, my co-workers and I gave our boss a VW Bug rental car for the weekend. After locating a rental car service that had a VW Bug, we had to be flexible with the timing.

You can rent a car anytime, anyplace but asking for a particular vehicle, you may have to wait for availability. Thankfully, a couple of weeks before Christmas, the rental car service called that a VW Bug had become available.  Perfect!

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Books of Significance & Meaning

Earlier this year, my husband Kevin, our one-year old son Aiden, and I all flew to Boston. Kevin is a pedorthist – a pharmacist for the feet – and his colleagues from all across the country were gathering in Boston for their annual foot conference. (Foot fetish, anyone? Just teasing, honey!) I better call it the event by its proper name- the Pedorthic Footcare Association’s 54th Annual Symposium and Exhibition.

Personalized Books of Significance and Meaning GiftWhile Kevin worked, Aiden and I entertained ourselves one day by taking the subway train to Cambridge to tour Harvard University. (*ahem) I mean Haaahvard.

It was raining when we got off the train so we ducked into The World’s Only Curious George Store. Aiden didn’t own a single Curious George book so I looked through all of the different titles looking for just the right one. And I found it. Curious George Takes a Train

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Oh, the Places We’ll Go! (And Been) | World Travel Map with Pins

When my husband Kevin and I were dating in college, he studied abroad in Costa Rica for five weeks so he could learn Spanish via language immersion. One day, I opened up my email and read, “When I’m finished with my classes, why don’t you fly down here so we can travel the country together?” How totally romantic!

Kevin in Diana hiking in Costa Rica

Kevin and I hike the rainforest in Costa Rica in 2003.

But so last minute. He was talking about a date two weeks away and I had an expired passport!

I made it happen – but barely – because my passport literally arrived in the mail the day before I left. My plane landed in San Jose where my very tanned Spanish-speaking boyfriend met me.

We traveled for nine days together staying in beach towns, zip lining through the rain forest, and eating fresh papaya and drinking mango juice for breakfast. Traveling with my personal translator, we avoided touristy areas so we could experience Costa Rica culture up close and personal.

Being half Filipino, I am often mistaken for being Hispanic so locals would sometimes just randomly start speaking Spanish to me. When they did, I would get this embarrassed I’m-sorry-I’m-your-typical-spoiled- American-who-only-speaks-English look on my face. Then I would politely say, “No hablo espanol” and then quickly point at Kevin – “El Gringo” (you know, Spanish for “The Gringo”).

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