Tag: gifts

Our Surprise Anniversary Gift

Yesterday the kids came in the office while Shamus was writing and I was working on a book cover.

“Mom?  Dad?  We have something for you.”

They handed us a huge card with “We love you!” on the front.  Upon opening it we found $8 and note that it was for us to go out to eat to our favorite Chinese restaurant for our anniversary.  (Our anniversary was the 25th and they pretty much ignored it at the time.)  It was especially sweet because they explained that they had only just realized that we hadn’t had the opportunity to go out for our anniversary like we usually do (any and all gifts we received went to pay bills so nothing got turned off).  They had figured out how much we absolutely had to have in order to go out to eat ($8 will pay for one large lunch plus tip at our favorite Chinese restaurant which is plenty for the two of us) and took the money from their savings (they are saving for a decent computer on which to play newer computer games.)

It was the sweetest gift and we are both very proud of them and thankful to God for each of them and their giving hearts.

The Surprise Revealed

On Rachel’s birthday I got an email from a friend who said that they had sent money to my paypal account as a special birthday present for Rachel, being that 13 is such a special birthday. I thought, “Oh, how nice, she will have enough to finish saving for a replacement screen for her Eee PC.” Then I looked in my paypal account and realized that no, she now had enough to buy both the full size midi keyboard she wanted (the “big” thing she was saving for) and the foot pedal for the midi keyboard. After thanking our friends profusely, Shamus and I decided to surprise Rachel by ordering the keyboard instead of giving her the money.

As you can see, it was the right thing to do. The keyboard came this morning (which is funny itself because the pedal shipped first and isn’t here yet, and the keyboard itself shipped yesterday. She is in seventh heaven, even though we could only afford a full size that has to be plugged into a computer with the proper program running (full size keyboards with built in speakers and software are EXPENSIVE.) After we got everything working on a spare computer we moved it to the kitchen where her 66 key keyboard was. Now we have a full size midi keyboard plus computer in the kitchen and all three kids are thrilled (especially Rachel, who spent much of the day practicing.)  So thank you again to Jethro and Roberta– you made for a very happy girl!

Rachel sees the box. She knew a surprise was coming for her birthday but not what or when.
Rachel finds out what is inside the box.

Oddly Exciting Day

Odd as in what an odd day. Exciting as in what an exciting day.

It started with gluten-free crepes, goats cheese, and berries for the kids and a trip to the pond where I read, cleaned out the car, and took a paddle boat ride.  I also tested out the new digital camera I got yesterday which is a whole other blog post but its a cheap one (under $100) but I needed something that didn’t have dust on the lens so I could get decent photos of my work for several upcoming projects.

When we returned home Issac and I vacuumed out the car. While doing so Issac spotted the UPS man and insisted on bringing in the box himself. (He is such a funny kid.) Shamus’ new hard drive had come but didn’t come with the SATA cable he needed so Issac and I trekked out, yet again, and got it for him.  On the way home I got gas (in order to redeem my extra trip out) and at his request we did one of his favorite things: got the car washed.  (I only get the car washed once or twice a year and apparently the other kids were devastated that they didn’t get to go so next time it will be a family affair.)   You can’t see it in the picture because he kept moving too fast but he is grinning ear to ear and telling me all about how it works.

Isac and the car wash

I spent most of the afternoon reorganizing my blog feeds and setting everything up so I could switch from Opera (which I love but I am having some issues with and more and more sites won’t open in it) to Google Chrome. (Firefox was great until they started adding bells and whistles and it started slowing my computer down.) The kids have reinstated quiet time and were lying down waiting for me to read to them. I was just about to do so when the mail came and I ran out to check it. Inside the mailbox was a huge package, which I assumed was a test set f the card game I am starting work on. It wasn’t. When I pulled it out I found this; which if course you can’t read.  It says: Gift for you on the sticker, and down below it says Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.  And inside was this: but with OUR name on it.  Really! The family I am working with on the game sent us a premium membership for Carnegie Museums. We haven’t had even a regular one since the last time we were on the Candida diet–which I just realized and which is very odd since we just started the Candida diet again, after 5 years, last week.  And this time around we have an awesome, doesn’t break down every time you leave the driveway, vehicle.  Anyway, since tomorrow is supposed to be the first cooler, stormy day in over a week, I just filled the car with gas and cleaned it, I don’t currently have any work I NEED to complete right away, Friday is the day we usually visit my grandmother and she is on the way, we are heading to the Science Center tomorrow.

And I suspect that throughout the summer you are going to be seeing less photos like this:

and more photos like this:
At the Science Center
And this:
At the Science Center

We are looking forward to being able to beat the crowds, visit other science centers when we go visit friends, go to the art and natural history museums when we take a trip to Trader Joes, and best of all, with the premium membership we get to take 5 friends along.  As the kids keep saying, “we just can’t sop smiling!”

A Mother’s Day blessing

A few months ago I was approached by a representative from Novica.com who emailed me, asking if I would be interested in choosing $150 worth of items from the Novica corporate gifts section of their site in order to review said items here on my site. This email came during serious chaos and financial concerns and we didn’t even know what Novica.com was.  It turns out that  Novica is an associate of National Geographic, selling fair trade unique gifts created by artists and artisans around the world. I seldom, if ever, review items or take part in giveaways but after some prayer and discussion we decided to accept. My biggest fear about accepting was actually writing a review if we didn’t like what we got (because I am honest and in the past have hated some things I have been sent to review), but not only where the items stunning but it also turned out to be a God send. My mother passed away last July 31, the day before her birthday.  During that same week we bought a used vehicle (thus depleting our cushion), and a few days later my husband was put on part time at work leading to some serious financial issues through the rest of the year, getting especially bad in the months preceding Mother’s Day. By the mid April, the very thought of Mother’s Day without my mom, combined with our financial woes was enough to drag me into full blown depression.  And then we received the gift certificate for Novica.  Issac and I looked through the site and chose the absolute perfect Mother’s Day gifts for my  very hard to buy for grandmother and marvelous mother-in-law (whom I have always wanted to get THE perfect gift for for Mother’s Day and have never had the resources to do.)  We also found something small for the kids and the perfect pair of earrings for me (a wonderful blessing as I had lost my favorite pair a few years back.)  As soon as we ordered  the weight lifted and I was suddenly looking forward to Mother’s Day, knowing that I had absolute perfect and totally unique gifts coming and I couldn’t wait to see the results. I placed my order on April 22 and received the three packages (one from Indonesia, one from Thailand, and one from India) on April 30, May 3, and May 4.  Because they were gifts I requested gift wrap on my order and was amazed at the results. Novica from Indonesia

Above is the first package we received.  It came from Java and Bali.  The bottom left photo shows what was inside the box. The kids loved the little information card about Bali with its hand written thank you on the other side.  They though the gift wrapping was very cool.  We went ahead and carefully opened the packages so I could photograph them (then closed them carefully back up).  The above right photo is a closeup of the box and paper flower  ribbon my earrings were packaged in.  The above left are the sterling silver pearl drop earrings I got for myself.   They are much more beautiful in person, as light as a feather, and the workmanship is amazing.  I have worn them daily since I got them (and I love them even more than the earrings I had lost.). The package on the right revealed the scarf and box at the bottom right. The gift box itself is a work of art, and the scarf was amazing.  I was so excited to give it to my mother-in-law and her reaction upon opening it was absolutely perfect.  I really wish I had taken the camera with me and captured her look when she opened it and the earrings (shown below). Novica from Thailand The above packages were from Thailand.  you cannot tell from the pictures but the wrapping was very delicate handmade paper and the boxes were made from similar handmade paper with a dried leaf pressed on top.  The boxes came with an explanatory card explaining how the boxes were made of saa paper, a handmade mulberry bark paper that has been made in Thailand for over 700 years and is sustainable because the trees are not cut down (for those of you who are concerned about green gifts) .  The boxes themselves were beautiful and would make a great gift on their own. The bottom left photo is of the orchid stick pin Issac picked out for my very hard to buy for and has everything under the sun grandmother.   I was amazed when I opened the box–it is a real orchid set in 22 k gold and is absolutely stunning.  Grandma was tickled with it  and Issac was excited to have found something so absolutely perfect for her. The bottom right photo is of these Moon in the Forest sterling silver hoop earrings.  They were my mother-in-laws gift along with the scarf above.  She wears half hoop earrings all the time and was so excited about these ones.  The details in these were amazing and the quality was wonderful compared to what I usually find here in the States.  As a former metal/jewelry smith I was thrilled with the quality.  My mother-in-law was so happy with both her gifts that she made it a point to tell me several times that I must explain how much both she and my father-in-law loved these gifts and how flabbergasted she was at the incredible craftsmanship. Novica from India And finally the package from India, which Issac impatiently waited for from the day he helped me place the order.  The top left photo shows the beautiful gift wrap.  The kids kept both the packaging and the ribbon– which I plan to use to tie back my curtains.  The chess set was wrapped in many layers of paper and tissue paper to avoid damage during shipment (shown second photo down to the left).  The kids found this very impressive.  The bottom left photo is what the whole set and everything that came with it looked like when we finally unwrapped everything.  The boy was so excited he couldn’t contain himself, he immediately set it up so I could show that the pieces were magnetic and wouldn’t fall off even when the board was sideways.    The workmanship of this beautiful tiny chess set is wonderful.  The quality combined with the little drawer to hold all the pieces has inspired the kids to keep it all together and take good care of it.  It has gone everywhere Issac has gone since we received it, and if he can’t find anyone else to play it with him (we all have at least once) then he plays it alone with his bear. All in all, I still can’t get over what a blessing the opportunity to do this review brought myself and us as a family.  I have so much more peace about Mother’s Day, even now, days after– and the day went fine, no depression just joy in being able to give good gifts.  The kids were so excited about giving these wonderful gifts and I have a feeling, when we have a bit of money to spend, they will want to order more from the site in the future, and since the prices were excellent for the quality of the work I have no problem with that. I am also thrilled to see a big company helping out artists and artisans around the world.  As an artist myself I know how hard it is to find a buyer for your work and to see a site like this, with so many amazing artists gathered together from all over the world and knowing that by buying a gift for someone else you are also making a big difference to that person and their family, is awe-inspiring.  The quality and workmanship, the great service, fast shipping, and also the little cards telling all about the artist and their work, all were the best I have seen from any site.