cheer-up gifts

Milkshakes are my favorite when we have company in town. Because really, what dessert is easier? Plus it is the perfect excuse to sink a straw in and indulge.

This weekend I came up with another way to share a shake. We put together a pumpkin pie milkshake kit to drop off to a few neighbors, so I thought I’d take a few pics and share. If you’re headed to someone’s home for Thanksgiving, this could make an excellent surprise to sneak into their freezer with a little thank you note.

I’m sure you know or can guess the basic makings of the shake. Depending on what I’m in the mood for, I’ll go with prepared pumpkin puree or homemade. The homemade freezes very well, so if you’re going to be prepping some for pumpkin pie, prep extra. Don’t tell, but I’ve made mine last for up to a year in the freezer before. And I always pick up pumpkin pie spice this time of year, to expidite all my pumpkin recipes. But you can mix up your own.

The basic makings of a Milkshake care package, if possible, should include cute straws. I picked up a few from Garnish. (Did you see Garnish carries a polka dot version too. eek! such cuteness.)

If you’d like to dress up your straws even more, you can find a few fun printables right here.

One of our favorite tricks is to butter up a few grahm crackers, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and toast them in the oven on broil. They are amazing crumbled on top or for just scooping out shake. I know, you’re telling me you don’t need to know that, you’re already having a milkshake. Oh, but you do, you do.
 All of the ingreds pile up nicely for a perfect fall delivery. (And if you’re in need of an alternative, non-melting fall care package, here’s a little something.)

Pumpkin Pie Milkshake
serves 4

4 cups vanilla ice cream
1/2–2 cups milk (I like my homemade milkshakes milky, so I go for a full two cups)
1 1/3 cups pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or combine cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves)

If your making this at home, dump everything in and blend, stopping occasionally to stir as needed. If you’re dropping this off for a friend (1) combine the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice and tuck it in an envelope, then (2) fold the vanilla into the pumpkin puree and scoop it into a little cup. Stack on top of some yummy ice cream and deliver.

Toasted Cinnamon Grahm Crackers
12 full grahm crackers
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven broiler. Combine cinnamon sugar. Spread crackers very lightly with butter, sprinkle on cinnamon sugar. Broil until toasted.

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This week, we decided we wanted to mail a disguise.

So we put together a few disguise pieces.
It is no good having just one disguise, you have to have options.
I stuffed everything in a clear box, but it was bulging with all those sneaky disguise options, I think I may just try using a ziplock bag next time and drop that in the mail.
We’ll be sending off this complete, master-of-disguise kit in the mail this afternoon. So someone we know can cloak herself in complete mystery.

And while I have you here, I wanted to share a couple extra notes.

I have a little interview over at Power of Moms in which I bear all about motherhood. It’s an honor to be mentioned among a lot of awesome moms on PoMs.

And speaking of amazing moms, a big giant thank you to Gabrielle of Design Mom for her kind mention. (I had a darling friend call me laughing and squealing as I was starting this post to tell me about the link. Thanks for making me look awesome, Design Mom.)

Happy mailing.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

 

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I have a couple things I’d like to admit.

one. I am in total denial that school is going to be starting. Is anyone else feeling this? Summer, oh summer, where did you go?

two. Despite that, when I walked into Target and and was met by all the school supplies last week, and then saw all of this back to school goodness pop up on my google reader, I couldn’t help but get just a little of that back-to-school buzz.

So, even though I am going to spend the last days of summer cramming in all the swimming, snow cones, and late night reading I can, I am kind of getting into the back-to-school thing on the side.

I thought you’d like to see something I mailed off yesterday.

Remember when my friend Sherry and I exchanged bottles of goodies via post? Well, when I came home with a bag full of school supplies, I couldn’t help myself.
I started with colored pencils.
I wrapped up a few other back-to-school goodies in tissue paper and stuffed them in too.
And of course, with all those colored pencils, there had to be something to color. So I rolled up a few coloring pages.
In it all went,
and the lid went on.
On went the stamps. (I checked USPS postage rates, and 5 first class stamps were enough to mail my 5 ounces of goodies.)
And the only thing left to do was drop it in the big blue mailbox.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

 

{ 61 comments }

Since starting my series about happy mail, I have heard a suggestion from a few of you I’ve been dying to try. And finally this week I did it. I mailed a flip flop.
Just four stamps, and in the big blue box it went.
The other flip flop goes out next week.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

{ 53 comments }

I opened my email one day to find a note with these adorable pics in it.
You are looking at two little cousins, one who decided to mail her cousin a ball, and the other who opened her mail box to find it. Thank you, Brenda, for sending these. I do not think these sweet cousins could be any cuter.

Of course that put me over the edge and we had to try this ourselves.

Sharpies were essential so we pulled out our favorite colors. We stamped a couple balls and decided we needed extra decoration.
So we scribbled on foil with our sharpies and cut out a few stars and ran them through the sticker maker for a little extra flash.
This is my daughter and her cute friend who came along with us for icees and then to the post office to get postage.


I asked my post office worker to just give me stamps so I could take a picture for you before I mailed them. He gave me two 98-cent stamps for each. And now we have the balls all set to send out. We are waiting for a couple certain occasions and I am getting near giggly just thinking about it.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

{ 46 comments }

Eggs in the Mail

04.07.11

It worked.
If you missed it, you can get postage details right here.

I am now sending more little eggs on their way.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

{ 46 comments }

There is something I love about bright plastic Easter eggs. I picked up a row of jumbos at the grocery store last weekend.

I got thinking about the fun of discovering eggs during an egg hunt, and thought it might be fun to discover one or two in a mail box.
So I packed a few up with goodies,
stuck on a label and a few stamps,
and am dropping them in a big blue mailbox today. For all the happy mail I’ve sent up to now, I’ve had postage added at the counter. Mostly because I like to walk up and nonchalantly drop a shovel or something else on the counter, like mailing plastic shovels is just something I do. Also because I love the workers at my post office and because I always meet the nicest people in line. But today I’m trying stamps. We’ll see if they go.

If they do, I will be filling a few eggs for grown ups too. Because when else do you get to be surprised by a plastic egg after the age of 12? I’m just needing a few good things to tuck inside? Sudoku? Hmmm. Any ideas?

<<UPDATE >>
It worked!! I ended up having to change postage, here’s what I used:
I mailed 1-ounce eggs using a 98-cent teton stamp + a postcard stamp
I mailed 2-ounce eggs using a 98-cent teton stamp + a forever stamp
You can see US postage rates for first-class mail right here (scroll down to “packages”).

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

{ 100 comments }

It has been a while since I’ve done a post about happy mail. I am brimming with all kinds of new ideas, so I think you’ll be seeing more happy mail around here. (If you’re new here, you can see more happy mail ideas at the end of this post.)

Did you ever do this with silly putty as a kid? It was my favorite. I also liked to make bubbles in the putty and pop em.
This week I put together a package to mail that was nice and simple. I used an empty plastic spice canister, tucked in a roll of newspaper and couple eggs of silly putty, and mailed it off.

One little canister, hours of fun.

I’m including the label, incase you’d like to use it. I originally made this to send out with my Christmas cards this year, but now I use it for everything. Do you like it?
(I like to print on this full-sheet label paper,which is a complete steal, 100 sheets for ten bucks.)

Either Download from DropBox by clicking here: Mailing Label
or download here: Printable Fold-over Labels (4384)

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or see it all right here):

A Great Big Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

{ 17 comments }

So it has taken a little longer than expected, but I finally have for you the final game gift promised from this post. Here’s a little project I did with my kids as a follow-up to our Tahoe vacation.

I am always looking for ways to use pictures from favorite trips or memorable periods of our life. I like the pictures not only of the people but of the details that were important to us at that moment that we could easily forget.

Did anyone play with shrinkie dinks as a kid? I remember having a Rainbow Bright set. Did you know you can get blank sheets of them for your printer? It’s almost more fun than I can handle.

We printed off a few pictures from our trip. For photos to work on shrinkie dinks, they  need to be a bit washed out to make the final color true. We had fun picking out the pics. For this project we picked out several subjects that were in transit.

We added a little hand-drawn detail with a water-based marker.

Then cut along the lines.

And then came the fun part, we popped them in the oven. It is so much fun watching them curl up and become itty-bitty versions of themselves. Note, if you have an emergency and some curl over themselves, don’t panic! Just put them back in a little longer and they should flatten. Use a butter knife to carefully and gently flatten them a bit if you need to.

We added stands and have a pretty fun final product. Candy Land, anyone?

{ 34 comments }

Tote a Tiny Toy

06.03.10

Hello fellow Giver’s Log readers!  I have been a fan of dear Amber’s site since the beginning, and I am so thrilled that she has asked me join her.

For my first post, I wanted to share a really small, but meaningful, gift my son received last year. 

A few months after I had my second baby, I was running errands with my oldest child.  I think he was still in the my-world-was-just-majorly-rocked mode after the birth of our baby, and he was having an especially hard time at the store.  While we were waiting in line to check out, a woman came up to us and pulled a toy motorcycle out of her purse and asked my son if he likes motorcycles.  (He does.  A lot.)  She gave him the motorcycle and it immediately calmed him down and bought me enough time to get out of the store with a little grace.  (I should note:  she asked me if it was ok if she gave my son the toy before she approached him.  It’s always a good idea to check in with the Mama/Daddy before giving a stranger-child something, no?)  I was (am!) so appreciative of this woman.  We still have the motorcycle, and even though my son has since broken off the handlebars, it’s still a favorite and gets plenty of play time.  

So here’s my challenge to you:  find a little toy or activity that you can stow in your handbag and give it to a child you see that is having a rough time in a store (or anywhere else that you see a parent who could use a moment of distraction for their child). 


For my own purse, I chose these cute scratch art papers, but I think anything that would keep a child busy for a few minutes would be appreciated:  stickers, a notepad + a crayon or two, small cars, a little book, a wind-up toy, etc.  The goal is to find something that costs only a few quarters and slips into your bag easily.  (Because if you’re anything like me, you’re lugging around a lot already!) 


I bought six scratch art papers at Michaels  for $1.  (And apparently they are a hit with the kids.  Do you see my son drooling over them?)  If you don’t already have something at home that fits the bill, try places like Target’s Dollar Spot or any dollar store for tiny trinkets that would do the trick. 


You could skip this step, but if you get a moment wrap the little gift.  I think half the fun of getting a present is in the unwrapping, especially for a child.  And who knows–maybe the wrapping will be the funnest part to play with!


Okay, okay, son.  You can have one.  Scratch away. 


Hey, it even works at home!  My son kept at this activity for awhile.  Time well spent, I’d say.

If you accept my challenge, please stop by and let me know how it goes.  I’d love to hear your stories.

{ 18 comments }

It’s beginning to feel like summertime here. So to celebrate, today I am going to the post office and mailing a shovel to a little girl I know. My local post office is starting to know what to expect from me, and all of the workers have a great sense of humor. But if they look at me strange, I’ll just explain that tomorrow, I will mail a bucket.

If you decide to give this a try, you can print postage at home and just drop your shovel in a mailbox, but it’s so much more fun handing it to a postal worker and waiting for them to say, um, I guess there’s nothing liquid, perishable, or potentially hazardous?

UPDATE: Just as a little FYI, the shovel was $1.22 to mail. Not bad. And the postal worker didn’t even flinch when he had to find a place for the postage sticker. The bucket goes out tomorrow.

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and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or see it all right here):

A Great Big Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

{ 18 comments }

Here in my little town we have some amazing places to pick up dessert. We have a country roadside stop for soft-serve cones, we have this incredible European-style pastry shop, and finally, we have a cupcake bakery that sells the best cupcakes I have ever tasted. Yumm. Just thinking about it makes me want cupcakes for breakfast.
Incase you can’t tell, I’m a sucker for a pretty dessert. Especially a pretty cupcake. And though I love eating them, I also like giving them away. So a few months ago, I came up with a fun way to present a single cupcake, enthroned in all its sprinkled glory. It started when we realized these make the perfect dome over a cupcake.
I ordered a set of these deli containers, and flipped them upside down.


I pulled out the drill and made a single hole in the center on top.

Then I added a favorite drawer pull that I picked up, where else?, from Anthropologie. (Note: the knobs at Anthropologie are always long, so if you get one from there, you’ll need to either cut it down or replace it with a shorter screw. Some unscrew easier than others, so check before you buy.)
We discovered that a liner beneath the cupcake is the perfect place for a secret message. If you have a particularly buttery cupcake (the best kind) and are worried about grease spoiling your message, use a layer of glassine.
All that’s left to do is snap on the dome. And there you have it, a pretty cupcake, packaged and ready to send home with a guest or birthday girl, even with a handle for easy carrying. After finishing this project I decided that the next time we have a tea party over here,

we are definitely having a cupcake tree.

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If you’re new here, you can check out my other tutorials here, or get some inspiration for other party favors on my blog, my gift inspiration board, or my pretty packaging inspiration board. Thanks for stopping by!

{ 42 comments }

I love May. I’d love to spend the entire month outside. In honor of May I thought we’d do a project that is reminiscent of May poles and of frolicking in the spring sunshine. We put together some DIY ribbon sticks.

When I first saw these clear tubes from Garnish, I was giddy with the possibilities. So I ordered a few.

Then I pulled out some leftover craft supplies: a few jewelry fasteners, leftover ribbon, one-foot wooden dowels, and some tacks I found out in the shed.

I started putting it all together. Ribbons sewn to fasteners and fasteners nailed to dowels. (If you don’t want to sew, tying knots works just as well). My fasteners allowed for three ribbons on each stick, which I thought was just right.
We did some test frolicking. The best ribbons are definitely the light, silky ones. (And as a side note, I decided to do this tutorial during my all-things-wedding weeks, because I can’t help think that a bunch of little girls frolicking with ribbon sticks would totally add to the scenery of any wedding. Or picnic. Or backyard barbeque. Or school yard. Or anything.)

Then we packaged up our creations in our tubes and added some labels (available for free here). We’re excited to spread some May sunshine. We’re off to the post office to see how the mail clerk likes them, but more importantly, the little girls who will be receiving them in the mail.

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and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or see it all right here):

A Great Big Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

{ 18 comments }

My brother and SIL are the coolest. For my kids’ birthdays this year they sent this.
Bubble wrap hopscotch. And what do you do when you receive a package of bubble wrap hopscotch in the mail? There is only one thing you can do. Tear it right out of the package and get hopping.

So save your bubble wrap, because this is such a great thing to get in the mail. Writing the numbers is easy, just make sure you’re writing on the bubblewrap’s smooth side.
You might want to make a set for yourself.
Then just package it up and send it off. Ours looked a little like a bubble wrap sandwich.
Incase you’re interested in the rules, here are the official hopscotch rules, according to my playground experience:

1. Lay out numbers as shown.
2. Toss the marker on square one.
3. Skip square one and hop on all the other numbers, using only one foot for single squares, both feet for doubles. Then turn and hop back, stopping one square before the marker (you must balance on one foot if it is a single square), and bend over and pick up your marker. Then finish hopping home.
4. If you over throw the marker or lose balance then you end your turn. Continue with remaining numbers (2, 3, 4, 5…) until done.

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and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

 

{ 53 comments }