Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Craft Fun

Are you looking to get crafty with your kids this holiday season? We have just the solution for you! Christmas is right around the corner, and we have some excellent craft ideas that your kids are sure to enjoy:

Button Christmas Tree
You will need; green felt, foam sheet, ribbon, various sizes and colors of buttons, glue gun and Elmer's Glue.

Directions: Print out or draw a tree template and cut it out. Trace the shape onto the foam sheet and the green felt, then cut those out. Next, use a glue gun to attach the felt and foam together. Then pick out some buttons, place them on the green felt (for Christmas ornaments) and attach with Elmer's Glue. Lastly, use a scissors to cut a hole at the top of the tree and thread a small strip of ribbon through the hole, and viola- you have a button Christmas tree!

Reindeer Hot Cocoa Cones
You will need: Hot cocoa, mini marshmallows, piping bags, red pom poms, brown pipe cleaners, googly eyes, chocolate chips (optional), and circle sticky tabs.

Directions: Fill your piping bags with hot cocoa, and top with marshmallows (and a few chocolate chips if you choose) then tie the bag off. Next, wrap your pipe cleaner around the knot and position them like antlers. Use the sticky circles to attach the googly eyes and red pom pom nose. 

Snowman Milk Jugs
You will need: Milk jugs, chenille stems, pom poms, card stock, and adhesive.

Directions: Use the black cardstock and randomly cut eyes and mouth shapes. With the orange cardstock, create noses and glue the pieces to clean milk jugs. Next, glue chenille stems to each side of the milk carton. Lastly, glue pom poms on the end of each chenille stem to create earmuffs. 

Popsicle Stick Santa Claus
You will need: felt, cotton balls, popsicle sticks, googly eyes, pom poms and hot glue.

Directions: Start by gluing some popsicle sticks together. Place two sticks horizontally, and lay more on top vertically until you have a flat surface. Glue sticks into place using a hot glue gun. Next, cut a triangle-shaped hat for santa and add pom poms to it at the top. Shred the cotton balls for Santa’s beard and use a glue stick to glue it at the bottom. Lastly, add googly eyes and a red pom pom for his nose.

These are just a few easy crafts to try for your kids to show off some creativity. Encourage them to add their own unique pieces. Do you have any fun holiday craft ideas? Share them with us!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Easy Holiday Meals

The holiday season is just around the corner and we know what that means; lots of traveling, family, cooking, and even stress. Wouldn't it be nice if you could prep, and even freeze, a whole meal that is ready to go when you need it? Well, we have done just that for you!

The appetizer: Pull Apart Cheese Bread
First start by slicing the bread into cubes, combine the cheese (and any mix in’s) and stuff in into the bread. Then pour melted butter over the top, and wrap the loaf tightly. From this point you can choose to freeze the bread until it is time to use it or the bread can be stuffed a few hours ahead of when you plan to serve. It will be fine on the counter for an hour, or you can refrigerate it (wrapped in foil) for a few hours. Wait to pour the butter over the top until just before you put it in the oven.

Get the full recipe:

The side dish: Mashed Potatoes
Start this dish by peeling then cubing the potatoes.. Then, boil them until tender. Drain, and mash the potatoes then add your liquids (milk, sour cream, butter, yogurt, whatever you like) and your mix ins (bacon pieces, garlic powder, cheese, etc.). Let them cool, and freeze flat in a freezer bag. Then to reheat them spread the mashed potatoes into a baking dish and dot the mashed potatoes with butter and bake in the oven until the butter has melted and the potatoes are warm.

Get the full recipe:

The main dish: Ham and Pea Casserole
This recipe is great for ham lovers, leftovers, and non-traditional celebrators. Simply butter a casserole dish. In a bowl, toss the ham, cornbread, peas and thyme; transfer to the baking dish. In the same bowl, beat together the milk, eggs and yolk and salt. Pour into the baking dish. Let stand for 15 minutes.  Bake until the custard is just set in the center, 40 to 45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving or freezing. The day of you can thaw and reheat to let it warm up again.

Get the full recipe:

The dessert: Mini Cheesecakes
This recipe only calls for five ingredients (not including the crust, the crust you could substitute with vanilla wafers). You will start by adding the crust (or vanilla wafers) in a mini muffin tins (use liners for easier clean up and serving) then simply mix the cheesecake batter on top of the crust and bake for fifteen minutes. Then remove from the oven, let cool and place in a freezer safe storage until time to serve. Then the morning of serving remove from freezer, Thaw for 5-10 minutes at room temperature and top as desired before serving.

Get the full recipe:

We hope these recipes will not only be delicious but help you relieve some stress. If life is really getting the best of you, we are here to help. With our wonderful and delicious frozen foods. We offer so many yummy sweets that we guarantee you, your family, and friends will love and they will last! 

Do you have other tasty holiday recipes you love? Share with us and comment below!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Fun!

Halloween is a fun time for the whole family. It’s a time to indulge in yummy treats, spooky decorations, and creative costumes that can 'wow' everyone! Unfortunately, these awesome costumes can tend to cost quite a bit of money.

So, why not try making them yourself?!  Since Halloween is just around the corner, here are some money-saving, fun DIY costume ideas!

1. A mad scientist with no head.
Yes, you heard that right. In order to create this spooky getup, just put a t-shirt over the top of the insulation and duct-tape the bottom of the shirt to hold in the stuffing. Then, use two wire coat hangers for arm supports, and top it all off with a large dress shirt and lab coat. Black rubber gloves can be stuffed and taped to the end of stuffed shirt sleeves. The arms can be bent and secured with safety pins to appear to hold the head as it pokes between the button openings of the shirt and lab coat. Add a wig, facial make-up and a pair of safety goggles to complete the look.

2. A pinata
This one is a bit time consuming, so get started today! Fortunately, all you’ll need is some felt and a pair of pajamas. It's pretty straight forward; just cut the felt pieces into strips and hot glue them onto the PJs. The hat is made out of thick cardboards and more felt, and the ears are just cones made out of thick paper. Just make sure no one takes a whack at you with a stick!

3. Jelly Beans
How cute and simple is this? Simply take a large see-through garbage bag and tie it around your child. Then take little colorful balloons, blow them up and stuff them inside the garbage bag. Lastly, print a sign that say, what else? Jelly Beans!

4. A painter
Dress your child in black clothing, and use eyeliner to draw a curly mustache onto their face. Then cut out the shape of an artist’s paint palette from heavy construction cardboard and cut two small holes on the top. Then, thread some black yarn through the hole to hang around their neck. Use hot glue to attach a large decorative to the middle of the paint palette. Lastly, cover the paint palette with painted blobs of colors. Voila!

5. A bumble bee.
Everyone loves a bumble bee! First, use felt black felt and create stripes that can be super glued to a plain yellow shirt. Then, a set of antennae can be crafted by drilling two holes in a black headband using the craft drill, feeding a yellow and black pipe cleaner through each side, twisting, and finally sticking them into foam balls painted yellow.

We hope these simple, creative ideas get your DIY juices flowing. Like any of these in particular? Going to try your hand at one? Leave us a comment and tell us how it came out!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Schoolathon: Running Your Way to Fundraising Success

Are you looking for ways to increase school spirit and create excitement in your school? Why not raise money at the same time? Try a School-A-Thon! School-A-Thon provides a fun, interactive alternative to traditional fundraisers. The best part is there isn’t anything to sell! School-a-Thon experts will help with event-planning, maximize the dollars raised and minimize the need for an armada of hard-to-get volunteers. Lets learn more!

What is it?
The School-a-Thon programs allow your school to choose what kind of thon they’d like to do, whether it’s a spell-a-thon, walk-a-thon, or any thon you can think of!

School-A-Thon provides every detail of how to bring your thon to the next level. From bland to grand. They provide an event planner, customizable donation site, credit card processing, money manager software and amazing awards and prizes. They have everything you need to maximize your profits and minimize your work. Doesn’t it sound too good to be true?

Who can do it?
Anyone is able to work with School-A-Thon. It’s not just limited to schools. It’s a great way to raise money for your college, club, or church. Whatever it is for, it’s guaranteed to raise awareness and bring your community together!

This is by far, the favorite thon to run! The Color-A-Thon adds excitement to your thon. Schools all over the country are putting a splash of color into their thon and experiencing phenomenal profit while providing a unique, community based event for all ages. The Color-A-Thon is a run or walk where you get splashed with color on your way. How fun does that sound?

What is the best part of all? Your school can earn up to 70% profit! Imagine all the great things you could add to your school with the extra money. You can use School-A-Thon as a way to promote your next fundraiser as well! What do you think about School-A-Thon? Comment below!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fundraisers Help your School and your Child!

Fundraising is a great way for any school or organization to raise money. Fundraising can help with a wide range of goals; whether you are looking to add a new playground, buy new books, or raise funds to go on a field trip. All of the benefits can often be overlooked. Here is a list of ways fundraising can help your school and child!


1. Improved Facilities
One of the most important reasons to fundraise is to improve your school’s building and equipment. Successful fundraising builds entire jungle gyms or playgrounds for schools! Schools can always use improvement and fundraising is an effective way to provide them with funds to make their goals a reality. Improving facilities doesn't just benefit the school, but the hundreds of students that use the equipment.  In turn, this helps create a great learning environment for everyone!


2. Increased Funds
Fundraising isn’t just for schools! Fundraising can benefit clubs, churches, sports clubs, and so much more. Does your team need new uniforms? Fundraising can help. Is your church going on a retreat and need some money? Fundraising can help. Is your band wanting to perform in a big parade? Okay you get the point, fundraising can benefit anyone who needs extra money and is willing to promote growth.


3. Parent Involvement
Parents are always looking for ways to get involved in their children’s lives and fundraising is a great way to get involved! Children want to win the cool prizes that are usually the incentives for the top seller and need their parents’ help. It can be a fun way to strategize and work as a family for a good cause.


4. Selling Skills
Fundraising helps children gain valuable skills.  Going door to door and talking to new people isn’t always easy, but experience with fundraising promotes self- esteem and is an excellent confidence booster.  It gives them skills that they will be able to use in the future and will teach them the importance of persistence.


5. Creates a Community
The sense of community that fundraising gives may be its best benefit. It is rewarding to see entire schools come together for a common cause and showcase their school spirit. It also creates team mentality and shows that with hard work, anything can happen. There is no better feeling than when a school reaches its goal and creates a better environment for an entire community!


As you can see, there are many benefits of fundraising! At Gifts N’ Things, we provide many options that satisfy your school or organization’s needs. We want to help your school reach its goal. We’d love to hear how fundraising has impacted your school!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Free Summer Activities

Do you feel like no matter what you do, it costs money? Summer has arrived, the kids are home from school for the season, and keeping them busy and having fun might feel like an expensive endeavor. Well, take heart my thrifty friends; for families trying to stick to a budget, there are a whole host of fun, free - or highly affordable - ways to fully enjoy all that summer has to offer.

1. Plant a Garden

Even for those with the least experienced green thumb, potting your own flowers, herbs and veggies - or creating a small raised bed - is a great way to celebrate the arrival of summer. Start from seeds or buy a few developed plants at a garden center. With a little TLC, your summer plants will add a lovely touch.

2. Lemonade Stand / Car Wash 

Many of us can look back on childhood and remember at least one entrepreneurial summertime endeavor. For this writer, it was definitely a lemonade stand. The great thing? Projects like lemonade stands and car washes become a source of great pride for kids. Plus, they don’t really require a whole lot of initial investment, and often end up being a great way for members of your neighborhood to get to know one another! And obviously, a little extra pocket cash is never a bad thing!

3. Backyard Art Projects / Show

Help the kids stay creative over summer break with group art projects. One cool idea we bumped into? Painting on plain, white sheets for “display” on a clothesline. Once the art has been completed, kids can invite friends over for a “gallery opening.”

4. Handmade Bird Houses / Feeders

This one’s a classic, and thanks to the wonders of Pinterest, there are more variations on the craft than ever before!

5. Backyard Scrabble

Here’s a really cool idea we found while trolling the web. Make words and spelling fun outdoorsy with your own homemade letter tiles...because, on a beautiful day, Words with Friends is much better in person!

6. Dollar Store Spray Bottles = DIY Squirt Guns

Think cheap squirt guns, only more durable in the long run. (Those cheap discount squirt guns tend to break on a dime). Added bonus: add washable paint to the bottles and spray them at bed sheets, pieces of poster board or big sheets of paper to create original outdoor abstract art for your “art show.”

7. Host a Neighborhood Baseball / Kickball / Wiffleball Game

You don’t need a ton of backyard space for a scaled-down version of baseball-diamond style activities. Gather the neighborhood together for a little physical fitness fun...just make sure you get plenty of water!

8. Visit The Library 

Air-conditioning is always a plus on the hottest of summer days, and lots of public libraries host a ton of free activities for kids all summer long!

9. Volunteer

Summertime is a great season to plot out a few days of the month to roll up your sleeves and help out the community. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity, for example, are ultra-busy during the warmer months, and are always looking for a helping hand. Check out your library for fliers from area organizations who could use a little manpower!

10. Bug / Amphibian / Other Critter Hunt

This is just always fun for kids. Find a nature preserve or park near your neighborhood, get out the jars and nets and see what you can find!

These are only a few of the many, many ideas for inexpensive summer fun. Have one of your own? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Humankind Water: Your Child Can Help Save Lives

We recently sat down with internationally known speaker TJ Foltz of Humankind Water. Scroll down to learn about his organization's mission and how its exciting relationship with Gifts 'N Things will allow your child to help save the lives of other children through the donation of clean water. 

What makes Humankind Water's mission unique?
There are other organizations that give to the crisis, and we respect them. For example, the water "Ethos", sold in Starbucks gives a nickel from every bottle to the crisis and we applaud their efforts. But we give 100% of our net profits to fund wells and filtration systems in the hardest hit areas of the world. The only other organization we've heard that gives 100% of their net profits is "Newman's Own" (the late Paul Newman's charity), and they've given millions. We're not there yet, but that's something we aspire to achieve."

Why is clean water so important?
Clean water is THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT philanthropic effort there is right now, in my opinion, for two reasons. First, how bad the situation is and second, how relatively easy it is to correct it. Few Americans realize this, but the combined deadly effects of bad water in drinking and sanitation makes it the number one killer of children in the world every day. 5000 kids will die TODAY for no other reason than they lack clean water. 

Second, the fix is relatively simple. No miracle drug to discover here, no race for the cure. God bless all those scientists and doctors looking for the cures for as yet incurable diseases, but the truth is you introduce clean water where there is none, and you reduce infant mortality to almost nothing, almost overnight. Of course food is's critical. Of course vaccines and mosquito nets are all crucial. But if you have all those things in place and kids are drinking filthy contaminated water, it won't matter. That's why - just my opinion - but I'm forever saying, "Water is the lowest hanging fruit on philanthropy's tree."

Why should elementary students, parents, and faculty be excited about Humankind Water's relationship with Gifts 'N Things?

Before now, there were two motivating factors to doing fund raisers with Gifts N' Things. The first, let's face it...COOL PRIZES! I know I got fired up about that stuff when I was a kid! Second, I know a ton of kids and certainly their parents...really do care a lot about raising that critical money for their own school need. Whether it's a great, fun, educational trip, or to resurface the gym floor, the money you make is great for your school and it's important to take pride in that. 

Those two factors really ought to be enough. But now it takes a huge extra leap forward. Now, in addition to cool prizes (and good for the school) we just might save the lives of THOUSANDS of children in really needy situations. Imagine. For every student that participates, even if you only sell ONE item, Gifts N' Things will contribute [enough money to supply] clean drinking water for one child for a YEAR! That's amazing!

Closing remarks
One of the unique things about Humankind Water is that because we give away all this money for wells and filters, we have never ever spent a penny (yet) on traditional advertising. Never bought a billboard. Never took out a magazine ad. Never bought a tv commercial. Products today just are not successful without that stuff. But we ...somehow...have to be. And that's why we are dependent upon YOU to tell the story. Share it. Tell other schools. Do presentations. Like us on Facebook and go to the website

Above all, make sure you thank the great people at Gifts N' Things. I mean, look at the back cover of the catalog. That's a primo spot to sell some other item. It's costing them money to NOT put another yummy candy or crunchy cookie there. Thank you to Gifts N' Things and every other organization going out of their way to help Humankind Water be successful, because they know that our success actually means kids lives saved. Humankind Water LOVES Gifts N' Things!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Time Management Skills for Kiddos

Time management is fundamentally a learned skill and an overall good practice for children and adults. The importance of developing good time management skills starts at a young age. From simply understanding the concept of time to juggling homework and after school activities, the benefits of having good time management skills are invaluable.

The best way to promote time management is through consistency. Start by integrating time management practices into your weekly routine. Don’t forget to balance work and play. It is easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday life. Remember, kids still need to be kids.

Below are a few examples of time management practices to get you and your child started on the path to freedom and efficiency!

Invest in a Clock or Watch – This might sound like a “no brainer" but it is an important step in teaching time management to a child. Many people use their smart phones to track everything, including time. If you are a parent that falls into this category, invest in a clock for your home or a watch for your child.

Organization – Organization goes hand in hand with time management. Designate specific places for your child’s belongings. From clothes to toys, your child should know where everything goes. Tasks and chores will take half the time. Even backpacks need a place to live!

Instructions for the DIY BackPack Wall 

Charts – Charts can be a fun way to visually show the tasks that need to be completed. Start by creating a chart for morning or nightly routines. Eventually charts can be created for other weekly routines such as chores or homework. A good example is this free morning chart download from Illi Style. 

Calendars & Agendas – Create or purchase a calendar and/or agenda for your child. Teach children to write things down and prioritize their time. Break down tasks or activities into increments of time. Include start and end times. Don’t limit tasks to only deadlines or appointments. Include time for playing and relaxing. Eventually you can begin to color code activities, homework and tasks.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Free Idea Fair Luncheons in Your Area

Over the next few weeks Gifts' N Things will host Idea Fair Luncheons around the region in appreciation for the hard working school communities. These informal luncheons will feature prize giveaways and a free lunch on Gifts 'N Things. Check the list below to see if a luncheon is being held in your area.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Good Taste Chinese Buffet
200 Jericho Turnpike
Mayfair Shopping Center
(631) 543-9583

Thursday, March 27, 2014
J.B. Dawson’ Restaurant
92 N. Flowers Mill Road
(215) 702-8119

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Toscani - Wood Fire Grill
1101 Rocky Drive
(610) 678-4060

Thusrday, April 3, 2014
2805 Center Valley Parkway
(610) 798-9000

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
TGI Friday’s (attached to Holiday Inn)
880 Kidder Street
(570) 823-9923

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Red Robin
5125 Jonestown Road
(717) 540-8600

Thursday, April 10, 2014
TGI Friday’s 
301 North Pottstown Pike
(610) 594-6646

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
J.B. Dawson’s
491 Park City Center
(717) 399-3996

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
The Chateau Resort
300 Camelback Road
(800) 245-5900

Thursday, May 1, 2013
Gifts ‘N Things
26 East Locust Street
(610) 944-1400 

If you attend one of our luncheons, be sure to ask how you can win a $50 gift card to and a $300 Carnival Kit for your school.

Friday, January 24, 2014

5 Tips for Your Child's Fundraising

Make Fundraising a Fun Learning Experience

Fundraising can be a daunting task, especially to young children and can cause them a great deal of anxiety. With a little push you can help your child be more comfortable fundraising and make it an enjoyable experience for everybody involved. To do this, Gifts 'N Things has provided the following tips to make your child's fundraising a fun and successful one.

1) Know The Product
One of the most important things when fundraising with children is that they know what they are selling. We don’t mean they know they are selling candy bars, but rather what is in the candy bar and how it tastes. This is impressive when a young “salesperson” can show knowledge of their product.

2) Go along for the Ride
Going door to door with your child is one of the best ways to have a successful fundraising campaign. By going door to door (preferably in your neighborhood), your child will be able to show their knowledge about the product with your neighbors and work on socializing with people they may not know that well. Most of the time they are more than willing to help support your children.

3) Buddy-Up!
When it comes to children and having to do something outside of their comfort zone it helps to have at least one other child with them. Our next tip is work in pairs or groups. This is a simple way to help make your child more comfortable and you can help the other children with their fundraising too.

4) Don't take over
Often times we see parents doing the selling for the children. Let your child do the work they are given to do. There is a good chance that they fundraising they are asked to do directly benefits them and is given to them for a purpose that cannot be achieved if you do it for your child.

5) Don't Bail Them Out
Our last tip is in regards to your top clients. More often than not, your family and close friends will be more than willing to help your child out. The great thing about seeking support from friends and family is that your child will be more comfortable around them. More often than not, parents end up buying too much of their children’s product. This does help your child meet the minimum requirements for selling but then you have an overabundance of something that cost you money. By setting limits on how much you will buy, your children will be able to know how much they must sell. Approaching close family and friends is a great way for your child to start tackling her or his additional quota.

By following the tips that we gave you you can make fundraising an overall successful experience for both you and your child. Good luck and happy selling!