New Kitten Gift Basket

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LitterMaidWalnut #LitterMaid #CollectiveBias

Getting our two cats, and becoming a fur mommy, was one of the most memorable moments of the past five years for me. I remember heading to the store before we went to pick up Peaches and Boomer, and being so overwhelmed by all the options and leaving the store with a trunk full of things. I thought it would be fun to put together a little gift basket that would be perfect for someone adopting a kitten so they can focus on the excitement adoption brings, and not all of the “stuff” they need to buy.

Here are the items I put in the gift basket:

Cat Bed

The base of the basket holds a small, soft cat bed. Kittens may be active but they still enjoy napping in a warm, sunny spot and a cat bed is perfect for this purpose.

Toys

I filled a little plastic jar with small toys because I know from experience that cat toys tend to go missing quite easily (though I’m guessing the majority of them lost in our home could probably be found under the couch!)  Kittens have a lot of energy so little balls and other toys will get a lot of use and putting them in a small container makes it easy to give them and then gives the new pet parent something to hold them in.

Grooming Items

I included a pair of nail clippers and a brush in this gift basket. Since both items are small I hung them on the outside of the basket with decorative ribbon. Other grooming items could include cat cleansing wipes or even a lint brush for the new pet parent who will soon discover that black pants and pets don’t mix :)

Litter

Every cat parent knows that litter is a must-have item and while shopping for litter I look for two main features- that it has odor control and it’s clumping litter which makes cleaning the cat box easier. One great brand I discovered recently that has both of these features is LitterMaid® Premium Walnut which is made with natural walnut shells. Not only does it help neutralize tough litter box odors and have powerful clumping that makes clean-up quick and easy, but it’s 99% dust free which I love.

(Boomer just had to get in a photo. I think some of the toys had catnip so he jumped up and was sniffing around. Sorry Boomer, this gift basket is NOT for you!)

Picture Frame

A picture frame is a sweet idea to include because then the recepient of the basket can display a photo of themselves with their fur baby. When I got my first pet, a kitten named Boots, in 1989 we took a picture of our family all together with him and it’s still one of my favorite pictures to date.

Odor Eliminator Spray

Odor eliminating spray is great for the cat bed, the couch, or anywhere else the cats sleep on a regular basis. Coupled with the LitterMaid® Premium Walnut that neutralizes odors in the cat box, their house will stay smelling fresh and welcoming to guests.

LitterMaid® Premium Walnut is now exclusively available at Walmart and can be found in the cat litter aisle.

You can also add cat food and/or treats, a collar, a cat box, pet food dishes and more to your basket! What would you put in a gift basket to give a friend who was adopting a new cat?

Romantic Scavenger Hunt And A Game Night Date Basket

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SendingYourLove #CollectiveBias

When Sinisa and I first started dating he went all out with the romantic gestures, from roses covering my car to mushy Hallmark cards on the regular. Now that we have kids (and have been together for over 10 years), the daily romance has changed from gifts of flowers, cards and candy to acts of love like doing the dishes and bringing me coffee. I still get cards and flowers and things like that, just more sporadically than I used to.

For Valentine’s Day this year I wanted to surprise him with a romantic gesture worthy of those I received during the early stages of our relationship and decided upon a romantic scavenger hunt to find a date night gift basket. I went to Walmart to get the cards for the scavenger hunt and some special date night gift basket goodies, including some games for us to play on our date-night-in since game nights are such a fun way to spend time together. Walmart has the newest collection of Hallmark Signature Cards for Valentine’s Day, so I picked out a variety of cards to write scavenger hunt hints in.

Hallmark Signature Cards are premium, hand-crafted cards and I fell in love with the beautiful embellishments on them. One of my favorites had a lovely message embossed on wood which reminded me of the game pieces to one of my favorite board games. Since I love to get crafty, this inspired me to make a little gift to go along with the board game that I was putting in the gift basket.

I love cards because you can write special messages in them and another favorite thing to give is personalized gifts, like this letter tile craft. The craft itself is pretty easy to put together but does require some planning when it comes to tile placement (which I learned the hard way lol). I was originally going to just put “Alicia”, “Sinisa” and “Love” but that seemed too empty so I decided to add the word “Family” and add my boy’s names in as well. Everything looked like it fit but then I went to put the frame on and discovered some of the pieces were too close to the edge so I had to use their nicknames so that everything would fit.

Here’s what you need to make this letter craft:

  • Shadow box (mine was 8×8 size)
  • Scrapbook paper for the background
  • Letter tiles
  • Adhesive (I used a photo adhesive to adhere the letter tiles to the paper)

To make the craft:

Cut the piece of scrapbook paper to fit inside the frame and adhere it to the inside cardboard backing of the frame


Arrange letter tiles how you would like them and add adhesive to the back of the tiles, one tile at a time, sticking each tile in place where you’d like it to be. Once all the tiles are on, put the frame back together.

When you are done crafting, it’s time to put the basket together. Along with the frame, I added a snack, something to drink, a board game, a deck of cards and a cute Valentine’s decoration.

With the date night basket ready you are all set to put together the scavenger hunt for them to find the basket. You can choose to do the scavenger hunt around your home or at places that are special to the two of you (like maybe where you had your first date, a place your family likes to go, etc.) Since it’s winter, and I live in Chicago, I decided to do the scavenger hunt around the house.

I wrote notes in a few Hallmark cards and hid them around the house, with each card giving a hint of where he could find the next card. The first place I left a hint was on the front door so Sinisa would see it right when he came home from work.

Inside I left a message about the scavenger hunt and then led him to his next card with this hint: “your love makes my heart make music”. You could also say “your love makes my heart beat faster” or something else cute like that. This clue could lead to a stereo or musical instrument. Our son plays guitar so I put the next clue on the guitar.

The card led to a map (hint: “I’m happiest wherever I am, as long as I’m with you”) which led to a pillow (hint: “I dream about you”) which led to the candy basket (hint: “your love is sweeter than chocolate”) which led to the car where the basket was hidden (hint: “you drive me wild”). This was such a fun thing to do and a cute way to start a date night!

The scavenger hunt was really simple to put together and a lot of fun, especially when it ends with a gift basket and a romantic date-night-in!

Don’t forget your loved ones this Valentine’s Day. If you are short on time just head to Walmart where it’s easy to get everything for your Valentine’s Day celebration – including the perfect Hallmark Cards. And, 1/29 through 2/14 (or while supplies last), earn $1 back on Ibotta at Walmart on any Hallmark Valentine’s Cards priced $2.97 and above! You can also keep your eyes peeled for an in-aisle coupon at Walmart – get $2 off when you buy 3 Hallmark Valentine’s Day Cards!

Visit the Hallmark Valentine’s Day Hub for more inspiration and to find a store near you!

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year?

Double Date Idea And A Paint Night Gift Basket

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FronteraExperience #CollectiveBias

For a while now I’ve been wanting to go to one of those places where you can hang out and paint. It sounds like it would be such a great time but I really don’t get out that much for girl’s night or date night since becoming a parent. Because of this I thought it would be fun to put together a paint night gift basket to bring the painting fun home! The basket is perfect for a girl’s night in or a double date night with another couple. (Personally I love the double date in idea because you get time with a friend and your man – just get a sitter to share and enjoy some adult couple time.)

Along with the painting there’d have to be food because a fun evening isn’t complete without it! When I thought about the bright colors of paint I had bought, I immediately knew they would pair perfectly with the vibrant flavors of one of my favorite cuisines- Mexican! I also knew I wanted something simple because nothing kills the fun of an evening for the hostess like being stuck in the kitchen while everyone else enjoys time together. Luckily I knew just the right ones that would work- Frontera® Frozen Skillets, inspired by Chef Rick Bayless. They only take about 15 minutes to cook so they can be made before guests arrive or while everyone’s artwork dries.

The paint night gift basket makes a great gift for a friend or your significant other. To make it for a double date night just put enough of everything for four people in the gift basket!

Here’s what I put in my gift basket:

  • 4 Canvases to paint
  • Acrylic paint in various colors
  • 4 Paint palettes
  • Paintbrushes (fine and wide tip)
  • Colorful plates and napkins

The gift basket is easy to put together. I used a black tin and decorated it with some paper flowers on the outside and added some crumpled paper inside the bottom of the tin. I added in canvases to paint (two 5X7 and two 8×10 sizes), paintbrushes, tubes of acrylic paint, paint palettes, and colorful napkins and plates for our dinner.

Speaking of dinner….if you love Mexican food you have to try these skillets. Frontera® Foods brings premium ingredients and flavors into the kitchen so they make the perfect dish to bring friends together. I bought two flavor varieties, the Frontera® Chicken Fajita Skillet (made with tender cuts of seared chicken simmered together with fire-roasted poblanos and chipotle chiles) and the Frontera® Carnitas Taco Skillet (made with slow-cooked pork with tangy tomatillos and roasted poblano chiles).

I loved that the meal’s ingredients and directions read in plain English and were simple to follow. They are so easy to cook that it took less than fifteen minutes to go from freezer to table.

I bought the Frontera® Frozen Skillets, along with two jars of their salsa (Frontera® Jalapeño Cilantro Salsa and Frontera® Tomatillo Salsa), at Target. We found the meals in the freezer aisle and they had a variety of flavors to choose from.

And, if you are into saving money (who isn’t!?), from now through November 25th use the Cartwheel coupon below to get 25% off Frontera® Skillets at Target!

Have you ever had a double date night in? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

How To Create A Gift Basket For A Cancer Patient

Thanks to Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. for starting this kindness campaign and sponsoring this post.

As a blogger I get to participate in a ton of amazing campaigns but my favorites are ones that let me give back to my community. I was asked if I wanted to join a “spread kindness” initiative to create a gift basket for a cancer patient and I’m happy to be participating. Getting a cancer diagnosis is devastating so making them a gift basket is just a small gesture we can do to show that we care and want to help them get through this difficult time.

Before I created my gift basket I looked online at what items were best to include. At the store I bought cancer fighting foods along with some items to help with self-care and stress-relief and created my basket to give to a cancer patient.

Today I’m sharing what I included in my gift basket. I hope that it gives you ideas if you want to create your own gift basket for someone who has cancer or is going through chemo.

Blanket

The first item I put in the basket was a beautiful, warm blanket to keep the patient warm. Hospital blankets are so scratchy and this nice blanket can bring a bit of home into the hospital.

Fruits & Veggies

Fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the best cancer fighting foods you can give a cancer patient. I put together a bag of items including spinach, apples, oranges, tomatoes and carrots.

Healthy Meal Starters

I included an organic soup for a quick lunch option. Beans and quinoa are great starters for healthy dinners.

Snacks & Vitamins

Everyone needs snacks and I included some delicious ones that have health benefits as well, like dark chocolate, nuts and fruit strips. I also added Vitamin C gummies, a protein powder, and honey, a natural sweetener.

Stress Relief

Staying stress free is essential so I wanted to include some items to help the cancer patient relax. I put an adult coloring book and colored pencils in the basket along with some candles they could light and some stress relief tea to sip.

Self-Care

In the basket I included some things to pamper them like healing lotion, epson salt crystals for a bath, and Chapstick for dry lips. I added slippers with no-slip bottoms and a pretty head scarf as well.

Want more ideas of things to include in your gift basket? Get more ideas here.

The best part about putting the basket together was getting my kids involved. Kindness is one of the most important qualities that someone can possess and something I want my kids to learn at an early age. I want them to make it their purpose in life to do nice things for people and put smiles on the faces of others. Having lost their grandma to cancer a few years back, this campaign is really a special one for them to help with and I’m happy they could help me make and donate the basket.

Along with creating a gift basket you can bring a home cooked meal, offer to help watch children or pets, hire a cleaning service to help them around their house, pamper them by painting their nails or just lend a listening ear.

I hope you will join me in spreading kindness this year! Tag me on social media with a picture of your basket if you join in and bring a basket to someone. Also, if you have any other ideas of items to include in the gift basket please share in the comments below. Together we can bring a smile to the face of others :)

Gift Basket For New Cat Parents

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewPetNoStains #CollectiveBias

A year and a half ago we adopted our two cats, Boomer and Peaches, from someone who had rescued them after they were abandoned in a park. Our two little fur babies have added a lot of love to our home and I’m so thankful for that.

Though I had cats growing up, it wasn’t until I became a pet parent as an adult that I realized just how many things that cats required. There were the obvious things we had to buy, like cat food and litter, but then also things I hadn’t thought about. Things like tags for their collars and carpet cleaner became must-have items on my list.

I decided to create a special gift basket for a new pet parent with all the essentials they would need before taking their cats home.

The first thing I did was find a basket big enough for all my items and then add in a pet bed to the bottom of it. Though my cats rest wherever they please, it’s always nice to have a comfy place for them to nap. They love their cat tree but, for most cats, a cat bed placed in any sunny spot will do and it’s small enough to fit into the basket.

The next item I put in the basket was STAINMASTER® Carpet Pet Stain Remover which is perfect for the inevitable pet messes that will happen on your rugs and carpeted areas. I never realized just how much this would come in handy. It removes stubborn pet stains but also can be used on everyday stains. I’ve used it to clean up a number of accidents and hairballs along with spills due to overexcited cats (like those times when my cats are chasing each other and one jumps up on the coffee table and knocks a cup down on to the rug…)  Not only does this remove stains but it has ODOR REMOVE™ Technology that eliminates odors and leaves behind an invisible shield as it cleans so that it repels dirt to protect against re-soiling which means it’s easier to clean the next time. It’s also nice because it doesn’t leave a sticky residue behind.

Another thing I like to add in to the gift basket are cat treats. For a pretty look just put the treats into a clear cellophane bag and tie it closed with a colorful string. Catnip is also a fun addition to the basket and can be added to scratching posts, toys and a variety of other pet items you want to draw your cat’s attention, too.

And speaking of toys, you’ll want to add in some of those! I included some cute little mice and a yarn ball to keep active kittens entertained.

Other PURRfect essentials I added include a water bowl, a lint roller to get cat hair off of clothes, and a brush. You may also want to include an air freshener for them to put near the litter box, a collar and a little note with the recommendation of a veterinarian you love.

Whether it’s a gift for someone bringing a little kitten home for the first time or you are adopting a cat yourself, check out the great selection of pet products at Target! I found the STAINMASTER Carpet Pet Stain Remover in the cleaning aisles by the other floor cleaners in the Orland Park, IL Target. (It is not available at all Target locations, but is available online. Click here to find it, or have it shipped for free, to your local Target store.)

Also, make sure to use Target’s Cartwheel app to save 25% on STAINMASTER Carpet Pet Stain Remover (Cartwheel offer good through 3/4). The only thing better than wandering the aisles of Target is saving money on what you find while you are there :)

What would you add to a gift basket for a new pet parent?

Fannie May Easter Chocolate Gift Basket Review & Giveaway

Chocolate automatically comes to my mind when I think about Easter baskets so I was really excited to get an email about reviewing a basket full of candy from Fannie May and giving one away to a lucky reader!

I was sent the Happy Easter Chocolate Gift Basket from Fannie May. The yummy treats came in a pretty flowered container that can be reused as part of our Spring decor. The basket contained just a sampling of Fannie May Easter favorites, including a milk chocolate bunny, white chocolate bunny, an egg shaped tin of peanut butter buttons, an assortment of cream eggs (one of each flavor: fruit & nut, chocolate butter cream “green may,” yellow butter cream and raspberry cream), a package of mint cookie clusters, jelly bird eggs and three chocolate bunny pops.

I had a hard time deciding what to eat first because it all looked good. I ate a mint cookie cluster expecting a chocolate mint cookie but was surprised to find chocolate with cookie bits in it. It was unexpected and delicious. Next, I opened the tin egg of “peanut butter buttons”. I found chocolate and peanut butter candies that  learned in my college years were called “buckeyes”. The peanut butter was so creamy and the chocolate around it was perfect. I am also claiming the chocolate buttercream eggs to myself.

I was tempted to hide the basket and give the rest of the candies to the boys in their Easter baskets but I couldn’t help myself and instead of hiding them I gave one of the chocolate bunny pops to Jacob the second he came downstairs from nap. As a blogger I of course pulled out my phone to take a picture of him enjoying it. {How could I not include this adorable picture of my kid with a mouth full of Fannie May chocolate!?}

BUY IT:

This wonderful gift basket (and many other delicious treats) can be found in Fannie May stores around Chicago and across the nation and also online at FannieMay.com.

WIN IT:

One lucky winner will win an Easter Chocolate Gift Basket from Fannie May {Retail Value: $49.99}

HOW TO ENTER:

1) Tell me who you want to win this for {it’s 100% acceptable to say yourself ;) lol}

2) Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

3) Like Fannie May on Facebook

4) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

5) Share this giveaway on a social network

6) Subscribe to this blog via RSS or email (look in upper right hand corner)

7) Enter another one of my giveaways (found here)

8) Comment on a non-giveaway post

9) Follow me on Pinterest

Giveaway ends on Easter, April 8th, at 11:59pm Central time. US only.

(Disclosure: I was sent a basket to review but all thoughts are my own. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook in any way.)