October 2007

OK, I have promised you some ideas for gift baskets.  I use to own a gift basket business so I feel like I have a few ideas but try whatever works for you:

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  • Local Products – Give products that are made only in your town or state.  This can be a great way to support local businesses and show off your town/state to those you love.
  • The Best of the Best – Oprah does it and so can you.  Gather up a few of your families favorite things and put them in a basket.  “These are a few of our favorite things.”  Think favorite movie, snacks, music, shampoo, etc.  Anything can be fun when they know it was the best you’ve tried.  Just make sure that it would be something that person would use.  This can be great to make several and give as a family gift.
  • Favorite Products– If you know someone really well try to include all their favorite items.  Favorite soda, candy, etc.  I have done an inexpensive basket with just a 6 pack of favorite soda and their favorite snacks for under $10.
  • Homemade Products– Have each person in the family make something and put them all together for a gift.  Picture frames, ornaments, beauty products (see my blog on homemade ones), etc.
  • For the Reader – Pack up any of these items blanket, slippers, gift certificate, coupon for reading time (good for Mom) book, gift certificate, magazine, coffee, coffee mug tea for a wonderful gift.
  • Beautiful – For someone into beauty take a list from a magazine of top beauty products and give the article as well as the products.  This is great for any lady but also works well for most teenage girls.
  • Off to College– If you know someone who just went away to college for the first time they might enjoy stamps, quarters, laundry detergent, sewing kit, hangers, coupon for an oil change, etc.  Think practical as they usually don’t have much money.  Put it in a container that they can use (Rubbermaid or such) or a laundry basket and make it look terrific with a big bow and great tissue.
  • Save the Planet– If you know someone who is wanting or starting to change their habits to protect the environment try a basket (from Goodwill) with a reusable cloth napkin, energy efficient bulbs, a plant, etc.  Check for Planet Friendly Products at www.goodhousekeeping.com (The best of Everything article had a list of options).
  • Cooks Unlimited – Give your favorite recipe and the tools and non-perishable items to make it.
  • BBQ Chef– In a Large oven mitt place some standard BBQ supplies like ketchup, mustard, wooden skewers, BBQ rubs or sauce, outdoor utensils, etc. 
  • Beach Bum– Is someone going to a tropical location for the holidays or soon?  Give them sunscreen, reading material, aloe-vera lotion, and a photo album in a beach bag.
  • Health Nut – This is very inexpensive but can’t be done ahead of time.  Gather a bunch of seasonal fruit along with some packaged or homemade granola and some nuts for your health nut!
  • Christmas Morning Basket – Fill a mixing bowl or Christmas basket with goodies to eat Christmas Morning.  Prepackaged or homemade muffins, cookies, pancake mix, jam, wassail mix, syrup, fruit, coffee, tea or whatever you can think of to make sure Christmas breakfast will be fun and easy.  Don’t forget to write on the tag to open on Christmas Eve.

Remember the key is to keep a theme and think inexpensive items to go with it.  Don’t forget the packaging!  You can always use a standard basket (some of which you get via resale stores) but use other items as well such as pretty boxes, useful items, bowls, reusable plastic containers, colander, platter, cloth shopping bag, cookie sheet, pot for plants, metal bucket, etc.  Use tissue paper, towels, napkins, bandannas, etc for lining. 

These are just a few ideas.  I should have one more blog with ideas before the holidays are here so please check back.  If you need help with a person and want an idea, please leave a comment and I will do my best to see if I can come up with an idea.  Also, if you have some unusual ideas for people that are hard to buy for please leave your ideas for all of us to try.

Debbie aka The Real World Martha


 I had a whole blog in my head last night, no wonder I am so tired.  I thought it was great.  Now I can’t remember one bit of it.  I keep paper by my bed for all my ideas and I never even woke up to put anything down on paper.  Can anyone relate? 

I do have lots of stuff to say just not a lot of time right now.  I do Pampered Chef and this is a busy time of year.  We are in our beginning stages of home schooling so I am still getting use to that schedule as well.  Also Thanksgiving and Christmas coming and I want to stay on top of that so I can enjoy the season!

I hope you have a great day and remember to come back as I will have more good stuff including gift basket ideas for those on your list.

Debbie aka The Real World Martha

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.


I bought a box of animal crackers and it said on it “Do not eat if seal is broken.” So I opened up the box, and sure enough… (Brian Kiley)

I saw this post on another blog and thought it was great as I would like to make the most of mine.  Check out 5 tips for efficient blogging (or something else):


Have a GREAT blogging day!

Here is my profile from Divine Caroline http://www.divinecaroline.com/

Some just for fun, true, and really true.

The 5 things always on my to-do list

  • 1: Cleaning
  • 2: Cleaning
  • 3: Cleaning
  • 4: Cleaning
  • 5: Oh, and cleaning

If I could donate $1 million to charity, it would go to


My Favorite Quote is

  • Jeremiah 29:11 (you’ll have to look it up)  Bible

3 things I would take on a desert island are

  • 1: hubby
  • 2: tan cream/spray (white as white)
  • 3: sand toys

5 unnecessary things in my purse right now are

  • 1: everything (except what I use of course)

My first word was

  • I can’t remember that!

The last belly laugh I had was

  • Thou Shalt Laugh Video with the puppets (we had to stop the DVD so many times)

The last thing I do before I go to bed is

  • close my eyes

Childbirth felt like

  • I think my exact words were “dljfkdjaljfdklsjlfjsdalk” as I couldn’t speak real words yet. 

2 people I would love to invite to dinner

  • 1: Beth Moore
  • 2: Billy Graham
  • and Michael W Smith (hey I have room at my table for 3 ok)

My dream vacation would be to

  • travel everywhere in a RV for a year!

The recipe I can prepare with my eyes closed is

  • cereal

I take my coffee

  • orange

My biggest pet peeve is

  • this question

I love my pet named

  • Whisper (who just passed), Brody, and Courage

Those closest to me know that

  • I rock! 🙂 I am sure that’s what my kids think when they are being disciplined that’s for sure!

This is my favorite banana bread recipe ever.  I thought I would put it out there as some of us do like to give food as gifts.


                                                                     Unbeatable Banana Bread

(from: http://jas.familyfun.go.com/recipefinder/display?id=50117)

s Unbeatable Banana Bread



2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Unsalted butter (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medium-large very ripe bananas (1 cup mashed)
1/2 cup sour cream

Step 1
Heat the oven to 325°. Line a 5- by 9-inch loaf pan, preferably one with a light interior, with enough waxed paper to drape over the long sides. This will make the baked bread a cinch to remove and the pan easy to clean. Set the pan aside.Step 2
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, cream the butter using an electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Next, add the vanilla extract and blend briefly. Set both bowls aside.

Step 3
Peel the bananas and place them in a separate bowl. Mash them with a fork or a potato masher and measure out 1 cup. Add the sour cream and stir to blend. Set the bowl aside.

Step 4
Using a wooden spoon, blend a third of the dry mixture into the butter-sugar mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients in this order, stirring well after each addition: half of the banana mixture, half of the remaining dry mixture, the rest of the banana mixture, the rest of the dry mixture. Next, add mix-ins if desired (see below).

Step 5
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spoon. Bake on the center oven rack until a tester inserted deep into the center of the bread comes out clean, about 70 to 75 minutes.

Step 6
Transfer the bread to a cooling rack and cool it in the pan for about 20 minutes. Using the waxed paper, lift the bread from the pan and place it on the rack. Pull down the sides of the paper and allow the bread to cool thoroughly before slicing. Makes 10 or more servings.




For a light, quick bread, handle the batter gently, mixing it just enough to incorporate wet and dry ingredients. Overmixing strengthens the gluten, the protein in flour that gives yeast bread its chewy texture — which you don’t want in a quick bread. Finishing up with a wooden spoon helps ensure that the batter isn’t overmixed.


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