Ideas for What to Put in a Gift Basket

Posted by Kate on January 27, 2014 in Inspiration, Post archive |

Shop smallGift baskets are great gifts for virtually everyone on your list for all types of occasions. Ordering a generic gift basket can be impersonal on one hand, on the other carefully chosen or customized gift baskets can be truly a creative gift for anyone to receive. Prepackaged gift baskets are often one of those impersonal gifts that many people don’t like to receive because they may only include generic low quality gifts anyway, such as hot tea packets, chocolate candies, and other types of food or candy that you may not even want.  I also encourage you to find those little niche places to shop whether online or in your hometown.  They are more likely to have those unique items that make gift baskets so much fun.

However, if you make a gift basket right and include all of the things that the person you are making it for may like then you may also win the prize for best gift ever! After all, giving a gift is the most important concept about a gift basket so making sure that it is received well is of utmost importance!  If you do not know the recipient well, perhaps a generic basket is best as they will know you meant well.  If you do know the person well; make sure your choice of items in the basket reminds them that you care and pay attention to tem.

The problem with gift baskets usually lies in the fact that many people simply are at a loss as to know what type of gifts to put in their gift basket for whoever they’re buying. Because there are many people who arrive at a loss or hesitate after they start making their own gift baskets, here are some suggestions for what to place in the gift basket you are creating:

Movies and Books

Who says that movies and books don’t make great gift ideas? Chances are that if you are purchasing a basket and making a gift basket for one of your close friends or family members then you know the types of things that he or she likes. Most people generally love to watch movies and read books, so these can make great gifts when put together in a gift basket. On the other hand, if you’re not too sure about whether or not the person loves to read then you can also buy a gift card along with the inclusion of the movies so that the recipient will be able to return the unwanted book gift card if they so desire or in many cases today’s bookstores have so many other items – they may find just the thing and be able to treat themselves without spending a dime! Nevertheless, though, books and movies are great components to add to a gift basket for any occasion!


Another great gift for almost anyone you are buying for is stationary! Stationary can come in lots of forms, shapes, and sizes so you may want to try to find creative stationary gifts to include with your gift basket. Ideas like pens, pencils, and perhaps some letterhead paper that may even have their name embedded on the product somehow adds a perfect personalization technique to the gift basket you’re filling!  Be sure that the stationary, pens, stamps, etc. that you choose have some personality to them.  Maybe metallic pens with a shaped notepad that reminds you of them in some way.  Some folks are known for flip flops even in the dead of winter…perhaps a beach themed stationary basket.

Food & Snacks

Do they have a favorite snack?  Do they love jerky, or popcorn, or jelly beans?  Maybe they are more the smoked cheese and fresh grapes type of person.  You could add in a pretty cheese slicer so they can enjoy the gift and have something to remember you by.  Gifts should be enjoyed, but it’s always good to be just a bit sentimental if you are able to do so.

Home Spa Products

Nothing is quite so relaxing as a good warm shower or bath at the end of a long day.  Fluffy socks, flaxseed pillows, and naturally fragrances bath and beauty products that match their own preferences.  High quality essential oils and natural lotions can add that extra special touch to a well chosen basket.


What if you surrounded a simple piece of jewelry with other accessories such as sunglasses with a seashell style necklace.  A simple sterling pendent that may go together with a pair of tickets to a particular play.

Of course there are plenty of other great things to add to your gift basket as well! Much of knowing what to put in a gift basket relies on how well you know the person that you are buying the basket for, but you’ll have that issue no matter what type of gift you are trying to buy anyway. Buying a gift basket will make buying something extra-special a whole lot easier!



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What is a Teleconference?

Posted by Kate on January 23, 2014 in Post archive |

There are many ways in which business professionals and organizations hold board and member meetings. Even though they are traditionally held using a typical conference room of a specific building, there are actually more creative ways to hold conference meetings. For example, one of the ways to hold a conference meeting for all of your members is a teleconference meeting. These teleconference sessions not only will accommodate as little as 2 people, but they will accommodate virtually everyone that needs to listen in. Hundreds of participants are able to be on a teleconference meeting at once. If you are wondering just how you can use teleconference meetings in your business or organization, here is the basic principle of what they are and how they can be used.

What Teleconferences Are

Simply put, a teleconference is a meeting between two or more individuals who would like to find out more information about the specific topic of the meeting. Teleconferences are usually conducted over phone calls; however, they can also be done in a totally different way, too. But first let’s examine how they are conducted over the telephone. If you have ever heard people speak of the “flash” button on their telephone then the basic principle of a teleconference phone call meeting is basically the same. Participants are able to dial-in to the teleconference meeting using a specific phone number and specific code to open the door, or gateway, for them. The phone numbers are usually 1-800 phone numbers simply because they are usually cost-free for the participants of the teleconference meeting. Once everyone dials-in to the teleconference meeting then everyone is able to hear each other’s voices. There can be hundreds of people on a teleconference phone meeting at one time.

The other type of teleconference that was mentioned is a web conference. Web conferences are becoming more popular as more people understand how to work their way through the internet. But the basic idea of the web conference is the same as the phone teleconference, except with more capabilities. For example, participants are able to actually see how many people and the usernames of each person that signs onto the web conference. In addition, both audio and video feeds are able to be heard and seen over web teleconference software. Like phone teleconferences, web conferencing can hold hundreds of people and can accommodate virtually everyone as there is both text to read and audio to hear.

How Teleconferences Can Be Used

Now that you know about what exactly teleconference meetings are then chances are that you probably think more highly of them then before. Teleconferences can be used by all sorts of professionals of all different business genres. The most common use of teleconferences, though, is stock holder’s meetings as well as internet marketer’s meetings. These are both great ideas for teleconference meetings. However, there are a plethora of other opportunities as virtually any club, organization, or group can use any sort of teleconference software and meeting to accomplish the goals of the group. For example, non-profit organizations like the Red Cross should take teleconferencing capabilities into consideration to further their goals.

All in all, though, teleconference meetings are a great way for individuals to be interactive with each other in order to learn more about what they came to hear. Teleconference meetings have been used for a very long time, and they will be continued to be popular as teleconference meetings become even greater with the inclusion of the internet!



Students use the Sleeping Bag Project to celebrate Martin Luther King Day

Posted by Kate on January 20, 2014 in GoFoods |

glassesHave you ever really thought to be thankful for blankets?  So many of us lay down at night, maybe we have the heat turned down to save the electricity and so there is a chill in the air, but it is nothing compared to what it feels like to be on the street and homeless during the winter?  I read a story today about a group of students who spent their Martin Luther King holiday stitching up blankets to be passed out in the Boston area.  I’ve never really been excited at how most people celebrate his birthday…he was willing to speak out and God used him in some incredible ways to bring needed changes in our country, but sometimes I think we get caught up celebrating the person and our day off rather than their mission.  I think he might think the same thing if he attended some of the parades today.  This group of students though?  They had a great idea – I think he would have been happy to see those who had less be given a hand as the homeless find it difficult just to eat, stay warm, and stay safe.   You can read more and see a picture of one of their blankets at http://wnep.com/2014/01/20/stitching-together-warmth-for-homeless/

The first story that really struck home with me about how difficult the choices were that the homeless faced was one in which a man described why he chose to keep his cellular phone and sell his car instead.  On the surface, I would have found the car a place of safety and relative warmth…at least I would know I wouldn’t have to sleep on the ground, but he had a different perspective…that phone was his link to possible work for the day, or knowing that a shelter had an open bed, or any number of other needs that could be met with the resources of that phone.  They say never make assumptions until you have walked a mile in the other person’s shoes…for most of us spending a night outdoors just really isn’t going to do this.  Spend some time in a homeless shelter, take an evening and go serve soup in a kitchen, make a blanket and see the smile of gratitude that they won’t be quite so cold that evening.

There are no perfect answers…the government definitely doesn’t have them…and there is no one size fits all solution.   I’m not talking about those that abuse the system by panhandling more than many of us make in a day; I’m talking about the ones who didn’t have any place else to go or didn’t know where to turn when life turned upside down on them one day.  Look around you, they are there.

If you want to find out more about the sleeping bag project – check them out here.  http://www.thesleepingbagproject.org/

If you want a perspective from a family who left their comfortable Florida home to go help the homeless on the streets of Portland…a first hand perspective of helping those who live on the street – check them out here.  https://www.facebook.com/knowing.meministries

The company I use to source product for my home business was originally started with the premise that everyone should have access to clean healthy food…our food has been donated to food pantries all over the US through their foundation.  The reason it is so welcomed at food pantries?…the whole family meal is in the sealed pouch, it does not need refrigeration, and only requires boiling water to have a hot meal wherever they are.

I encourage you…look around, there is someone who lives near you that has so much less than you do.  Help and enabling are two different things.  I would encourage you to be a helping hand on their journey.  Their smile will make you smile.

Pay it forward as you learn to Live simply, Laugh daily, and Grow gracefully…





Dolly Parton’s Advice

Posted by Kate on January 20, 2014 in Post archive |

“If you don’t like the road you are on, plow a new one.”  This has been my motto the last couple of years.  It’s been a mix of emotions, but I have to say…I’ve never been sorry or wanted to turn back.  I encourage you to keep with your plan as you began your new year.  Maybe you’ve seen a flaw or two in your plan ~ well, reconsider and figure out  a way to tweek it so it works better.  You can, in today’s world, learn how to do anything you need to do as you come upon to new challenges on your journey…I do want to point out one thing though…if you plow a road, then you need to plow as straight a road as possible.

The advantage to the internet is that you can find the answer to almost anything…the disadvantage to the internet is you can get distracted by almost anything.  You will find dozens of people who all advertise they have the latest and greatest.  Don’t get lost on the web all day moving from one set of instructions or program to another….none of them will work without a plan, action, and repeated action every day.
Dolly QuoteDecide where you want to be next month, break it down into daily steps to get there, and then commit yourself to doing each step, each day – just like you would if there was a grade being given by the professor the next day!  How many of us remember late nights studying for an exam or writing a paper?  It’s the same thing – you’re going to lose a little sleep.  No it doesn’t matter which day you start…what matters is that you decide where you want that road to lead, plan your course, break it up into steps, and complete each step in a timely manner.

If you do exactly what you have been doing every day – you will be in exactly the same place a month from now, a year from now….

If you don’t like the road you’re on, plow a new one…and get started today!

Live simply, Laugh daily, and Grow gracefully…

~ Kate


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Work At Home Parent

Posted by Kate on January 19, 2014 in Post archive |

How can we define a Work At Home Parent? Almost everyone is a parent, and everyone works, maybe from home…! A Work At Home Parent is a businessman or businesswoman takes care of children while working from home.

A businessman or businesswoman who conducts business at home may do so for a lot of reasons, despite reasons it gives one the flexibility to plan their time between business and family. The reasons could be numerous, but which parent would forego the opportunity of working their own hours all the while spending time with their children and family at the same time fulfilling social obligations. This class of entrepreneurs, the Work At Home Parents, also saves a lot in terms of time and money.

The main objective of a Work At Home Parent would be to integrate their business time with parenting responsibilities without a loss in income or opportunity.

This article deals with integrating entrepreneurship with parenting to the best possible effect and history of Work At Home Parenting.

The integration of entrepreneurship with parenting can be achieved by bringing together the use of time and space, accommodating parentage in business and flexibility.

Usage of time and Space: Taking children on business errands, scheduling activities when the children are resting and getting the children used to the concept of an office that accepts their presence.

Accommodating Parentage in business: Once your business acquaintances come to know that parentage is a priority with you, they would certainly accommodate with you in taking time for caring for children. As the children grow, taking their help to perform small tasks would certainly help in a Work At home Parent’s business. It would also help in children growing responsible.

Flexibility: Working your own hours will help a work at home Parent perform and work well since they can work at times suitable and in shorter spurts than in a continuous process.

History of Work At Home Parenting: The practice of integrating entrepreneurship with parenting has been in practice for a long time since the times of merchants and artisans. These classes of entrepreneurs worked closer to their homes, with children loitering in the background. Only the historical circumstances like Industrial Revolution distanced the children away from their parent’s workplaces. However the recent trends of dual working parents (due to economic compulsions) brought about a void in parentage, which in turn gave rise to the concept of work/life balance making Work at Home Parentage a viable and sensible proposition.



Why Give a Gift Basket?

Posted by Kate on January 15, 2014 in Post archive |

The perfect gift for anyone is always a hard thing to do. Many people are afraid that they’ll give their friends or close family members the wrong thing for Christmas, their Birthday, or another holiday, yet they want to buy them something very special that says they care about them! If you have never thought about this before, but might want to try it, one suggestion for the next occasion that comes up is to buy gift baskets for the person in your life. In addition, if the gift goes over well then you may just need to start a tradition of buying gift baskets regularly for the special people in your life. However, if you’re not totally convinced that someone would love a gift baskets, here are a few reasons that it may just be the perfect gift:

You Have Choices

One good thing about trying to find gift baskets is that you typically always have choices when buying them. If you’re buying a pre-made gift basket, one that was put together and wrapped beforehand, you will still have the option of buying another small gift and including that in the gift basket as well! Furthermore, many businesses that sell gift baskets usually create a variety of packages so that their are choices for everyone. For example, one company may have multiple selections of women’s gift baskets, while another one only has limited varieties. Examining all of them, though, is a good idea to selecting the perfect one for your family or special friend.

They Offer Variety

Another reason why you may want to invest in a gift basket is because gift baskets usually offer variety that you can’t find anywhere else. There are so many items that may come in a gift basket that are just perfect for the person on your list. In addition, women and girl-friends typically love these types of gifts, so if you’re a guy trying to figure out what to get your sweetheart or your mother then you should just consider a gift basket.

Gift baskets are also creative if they’re given to the right person and for the right reasons. One option that you’ll always have is to actually create your own gift basket. During Christmas time one avenue that you may want to take up is actually making your own Christmas gift baskets. For example, you could fill a basket with different loaves of bread, like banana, pumpkin, or apple spice, along with including several other small types of gifts that are perfect for Christmas. Of course, pre-filled gift baskets are also usually readily available around this part of the year and holiday season, but choosing to be creative and making your own Christmas gift basket is something that many people choose to do.

As you can see, gift baskets are a great way to show the people in your life that you care and a great way to offer a variety of gifts instead of a single one. Gift baskets are usually always well received by their recipients as well, which is another reason why it makes them an awesome gift for any occasion!



No Dig Gardening

Posted by Kate on January 11, 2014 in Post archive |

The idea of do-dig gardening was developed by an Australian named Esther Deans. It was originally both developed both as a labor saving idea, and a method to rejuvenate badly depleted soil in a vegetable garden.

The process involves starting with layers of newspaper, and by adding lucerne hay, straw and compost in succeeding layers, you can create a growing medium without resorting to heavy digging, and one that is rich in nutrients and which will simplify weeding and encourage your much desired plants to grow. The layers compost together, and greatly encourage earthworms. The gardens are maintained by adding manure, compost, etc., and should not be dug up, as this will undo the good work. I have used this approach to creating vegetable gardens, and it certainly does work.

The principle of not digging has sound foundations. Excessive cultivation of the soil, especially when very wet or very dry, will damage the structure of the soil, and lead to compaction. Such excessive cultivation can also discourage the earthworms, and they are the best free labor a gardener has.

Some followers of permaculture and organic gardening have translated no-dig into never-dig, which I believe is sadly mistaken. If you start with a base soil that is badly compacted, then your no-dig garden will initially work well, but you may find your garden does not continue to perform well. The fertile layer you have built up will encourage the earthworms, but we do know that the worms need to shelter from excessively hot, dry, cold or wet conditions. They have been found to seek shelter from extreme conditions by burrowing more deeply into the soil, sometime many feet down. If they cannot shelter in this way, it is my contention that they will die out or move out.

My belief is that an initial cultivation of the soil before you apply the no-dig system will guarantee a better environment for the worms, and thus a better garden for growing your plants, over the longer term.

By all means give the no-dig approach a try – you will be pleased with the result.



Special Birthday Traditions

Posted by Kate on January 7, 2014 in Post archive |

Everyone in the world certainly has some special birthday tradition that they hold dear and that they’ve practiced in their family for as long as they can remember. In the United States, birthdays are certainly a special occasion and are made so even more by the family and friends that we celebrate them with. Youngsters always have special birthday blowout parties, while older adults find themselves doing something special on their birthday as well.

However, have you ever wondered about some of the birthday traditions and how they got started? Why do people get “spanked” on their birthday, for example? What’s the significance of the birthday cake and how did it get started? There are actually many things that we do on our birthdays, especially in America, which we may be totally clueless as to how the tradition started. Well, if you are wondering why we get “spanked” and how the birthday cake became popular then keep reading as we will debunk these mysteries as well as tell you about some of the other interesting facts about birthdays.

Why do we get “Spanked” on our Birthday?

Children are the ones that typically get spanked on their birthdays as adults are much too old for this kind of ritual. However, if you have ever wondered why children get the number of spanks as they are for each year they’ve turned, you may be interested to know that this tradition started a long time ago with some early folklore. Children would typically get spanked on their birthdays because people were actually afraid of death. People believed that spanking would toughen your body up so that you wouldn’t die. Now how’s that for an interesting story?

How did the Birthday Cake originate?

The birthday cake did not originate in America as most people would have thought. In fact, most people don’t even give a second thought to the people who actually started this tradition. As it turns out, in the early times Greeks made round cakes (which later became called “Birthday Cakes”) to symbolize the moon and the candles on the cake would symbolize the moon’s brightness. Even more interesting, though, is that they were actually praying to the goddess of the moon when they did all of this on their birthdays. So Americans can thank the early Greeks for contributing to the tradition of the Birthday Cake.

Another interesting Birthday Tradition

Religious traditions are always interesting to read about, but one of the most interesting of all traditions comes from the Pagans. Paganistic individuals actually celebrated people’s birthdays but not for the sole purpose of having a good time. These people thought that parties full of celebration and laughter kept evil spirits away, which is why they celebrated birthdays!

All of these little known facts are pretty interesting stories about birthday traditions and folklore. So the next time you celebrate your birthday just think about all the small traditions that you continue to do and how they actually got started.



10 Habits that Happy Couples Share

Posted by Kate on January 1, 2014 in Post archive |

good day turtleI love reading and sharing good advice that I want to read later myself.  For instance, did you know that touch is the most important sense for our happiness?  It is estimated that a person needs 8 hugs a day or we may become touch deprived according to Angel Travada, a holistic massage therapist.  This article struck a cord with me so I wanted to share the basics both for you and for myself as a later reference.  According to an article published through Psychology Today these are the 10 habits that happy couple share:

  1. Go to bed at the same time
  2. Cultivate common interests
  3. Walk hand in hand or side by side
  4. Make trust and forgiveness your default mode
  5. Focus more on what your partner does right
  6. Hug each other as soon as you see each other after work
  7. Say “I love you” and “Have a good day” every morning
  8. Say “Good night” every night regardless of how you feel
  9. Do a “weather”check during the day (quick call to see how the day is going)
  10. Be proud to be seen with your partner (casual touch making it obvious that you are together)

I would add that they pray for each other and attend church or listen to a favorite pastor weekly while together.  The link to the complete article is http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/just-listen/200911/10-habits-happy-couples .

Put your relationship with your partner first when at all possible.  Your children will be growing up and leaving the house…your partner will be there as long as god grants both of you days here on this earth.  This doesn’t mean neglect your kids – it just means make sure you show respect for your partner by taking just a few minutes to reach out and remind them that you are glad they are there as your partner.




Zucchini for dinner…

Posted by Kate on October 25, 2013 in Quick & Easy cooking |

zucchiniI love finding ways to enjoy the comfort food look on my plate with a recipe that is healthy and uses fresh food.  This recipe for Zucchini Patties falls in this category.  What a great way to enjoy a plated “burger” with a completely different flavor ~perfect for lunch.

This would be fabulous served with a fresh tomato salad or perhaps some fresh celery sticks.




Basic ingredients:

2 cups grated zucchinin

2 eggs

1/4 cup chopped onion or frozen bag of stew seasoning blend (onion, celery, and tomato)

1/2 cup flour or bread crumbs or quinoa/chickpea flour

1/2 cup Parmesan grated cheese

1/2 cup Mozzarella grated cheese

touch of salt or other seasonings

oil for pan frying until golden brown on both sides

Should make 4 patties

The original link for reference is http://preview.tinyurl.com/l6czod6

Sounds like a fabulous way to use fresh zucchini!


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