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  • Last Minute Ideas for a Mother’s Day Gift Basket
    By on May 8, 2014 | 1 Comment1 Comment  Comments

    Mother’s Day is right around the corner!  Still wondering what to get for mom?  How about these ideas for a great gift basket!Mothers Day Gift Baskets Strong Single Mom Network

    Victorian Lace Gourmet Food and Spa Gift Basket Set with Clock

    Victorian

    A special gift perfect for any occasion designed to celebrate elegant Victorian style, relaxation and good taste. We start with a unique antique style wooden gift chest detailed in hand painted English Roses and inlaid with a real working clock, sure to become a lovely addition to her home’s decor. She can relax and enjoy our exclusive Art d’ Moi spa products, sip a cup of tea, nibble on gourmet cookies and more with this great gift arrangement. Each basket is hand crafted with attention to detail, shrink wrapped and tied with a bow for presentation. To include a personalized gift message or to notify your recipient who purchased this thoughtful gift, you must select GIFT during checkout.Includes: Art d’ Moi Floral Bath Gel, Art d’ Moi Floral Body Lotion, Art d’ Moi Floral Body Butter, Art d’ Moi Floral Body Scrub, Victorian Cherub Candle, Floral Stationary Set, Primo Dolce Dipped Cookies, EnLight-Tea-Ments English Breakfast Tea, Keepsake Picture Frame, Hand Painted Wooden Gift Chest with Clock. An original gift basket arrangement created and designed by Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets. The spa products featured in this gift are part of the luxurious Art de’ Moi Spa Line, manufactured and distributed exclusively by Art of Appreciation.

    Coffee Lovers Care Package Snacks and Treats Gift Box

    Coffee

    This thoughtful Coffee Lovers Care Package is a great gift box arrangement, complete with a coffee mug, then filled to overflowing with premium coffee and gourmet go togethers for your java loving recipient to enjoy. Cleverly presented, boxed and bowed, open the lid to find all the gourmet goodies tucked inside – Enjoy! Includes: Premium Columbian Coffee, Jamocha Almond Fudge Coffee, Butterscotch Flavored Coffee, Tiramisu Flavored Coffee, Torani Almond Hazelnut Biscotti, Keepsake Coffee Themed Mug, Barista Blend Café Latte Mix, Amaretto White Chocolate Wafer Cookie, Dark Chocolate Wafer Cookie, Bali’s Best Espresso Candy , Heavenly Gourmet Chocolate Chip Cookies, Mocha Hazelnut Java Wafer Cookie, Coffee Themed Care Package Gift Box. Each basket is hand crafted with attention to detail and tied with a bow for presentation. Please mark GIFT during check to include a personalized gift message to convey your best wishes. This is an original gift basket arrangement designed by Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets.

    Blooming Gift Bag of Tea, Sweets and Treats

    Tea

    Your love and appreciation for all she’s done shines through with this beautiful gift bag designed like a flower bouquet. It’s filled with an assortment of teas and treats to sample and try making it a great alternative to fresh flowers that can wilt away. Each gift set is crafted with attention to detail, shrink wrapped and tied with a bow for presentation. To include a personalized gift message or to notify your recipient who purchased this thoughtful gift, you must select GIFT during checkout. Includes: Ravishing Raspberry Tea Cookies, White Frosted Pretzels,Butterfly Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies, Primo Dolce Cookies, Butter Toffee Popcorn, Ashby ‘s Individual Cinnamon Plum Tea, Ashby’s Individual Chamomile Tea, Ashby’s Individual Raspberry Tea, Enlight-Tea-ments English Breakfast Tea, Jelly Belly Dutch Mint Candy, Luscious Lemon Biscotti Bites, Gift Bag Tote with Flower Design.PLEASE NOTE: This item is presented in a paperboard gift bag with a picture of roses printed on it. While it is very realistic and beautifully detailed to look like real flowers, it is not. This gift does not contain real flowers. An original gift basket arrangement designed and created by Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets.

    Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets, Sweet Gardening Pleasures Gift Basket

    garden

    Delight your favorite gardener with this great gift featuring everything she needs to create a beautiful wildflower arrangement on her windowsill or deck! The unique wooden planter is perfect for patios, porches or as a decorative accent for her home. It’s then filled with a delightful array of teas, treats, handy gardening accessories and even flower seeds. Each basket is hand crafted with attention to detail, shrink wrapped and tied with a bow for presentation. To include a personalized gift message or to notify your recipient who purchased this thoughtful gift, you must select GIFT during checkout. Includes: Pair of Gardening Gloves, (3) Wildflower Garden Seed Packs, Gardening Trowel Tool, Longevity Green Tea Chai Tea Mix, Peace Vanilla Chai Tea Mix, Joy Spiced Chai Tea Mix, Cinnamon Butterfly Sugar Cookies, Sunny Candy Coated Sunflower Seeds, Primo Dolce Dipped Cookies, Fruity Gummi Worm Candy, Nylon Nail Brush, presented in a Wooden Planter. An original gift basket arrangement designed and created by Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets tm.

    Snack Lovers Gourmet Treats Gift Basket

    Snack Lover

    What’s not to love in this snack-filled sampler gift basket? Whether cravings lean toward a taste that’s sweet or more savory, there is always something satisfying here! Each basket is hand crafted with attention to detail, shrink wrapped and tied with a bow for presentation. To include a personalized gift message or to notify your recipient who purchased this thoughtful gift, you must select GIFT during checkout. Your gift includes: Heavenly Gourmet Cookies, Three Pepper Blend Water Crackers, Gourmet Salted Caramel Popcorn, Savory Summer Sausage, Camembert Cheese Spread, Tuscan Italian Seasoned Almonds, Petite Fruit Bonbon Candies, Silk Crunch Cookie, Tangy Dill Seasoned Pretzels, Claey’s Kettle Fresh Candy, Almond Toffee Candy, presented in a checker cloth lined gift basket. An original gift basket arrangement designed and created by Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets.

    Mothers Are Forever Gourmet Gift Basket

    Mothers are Forever

    Mothers ARE forever! Show her how much you care with this incredibly beautiful gift basket adorned in silk flowers and roses made in honor of Mom. This gift is offered in three generous sizes, with each size featuring the inspirational book “Mothers Are Forever”, a keepsake picture frame, candles, teas, treats and more! Each basket is hand crafted with attention to detail, shrink wrapped and tied with a bow for presentation. To include a personalized gift message or to notify your recipient who purchased this thoughtful gift, you must select GIFT during checkout. MEDIUM Includes: Mothers Are Forever Inspirational Book, Rose Shaped Tea Light Candles, 5×7 Keepsake Picture Frame, Floral Scented Body Spray, Floral Scented Potpourri, Enlight-Tea-Ments English Breakfast Tea, Jelly Belly Candy Coated Dutch Mints, Ravishing Raspberry Tea Cookies, Primo Dolce Dipped Cookies, Individually Wrapped Butter Mint Candies, Medium White Wicker Basket with Handle. An original gift basket arrangement designed and created by Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets.

    Chocolate Treasures Gourmet Food Gift Basket

    Chocolate

    Chocolate Treasures is one of our best selling gift basket, requested time and again! The only thing that can beat an assortment of premium chocolates is presenting it beautifully in a handsome wicker basket that will compliment any homes decor. Thank your valued clients and their hard working staff, or celebrate a special occasion with friends and family, even if you can’t be there in person. Everyone loves chocolate and this irresistible assortment is the perfect selection for any gifting event. Includes: Chocolate Belgian Truffles, Double Chocolate Brownie, Confetti Chocolate Drizzled Toffee Popcorn, White Chocolate Hazelnut Cocoa Mix, Single Origin Chocolate Cookie Crisps , Chambery Chocolate Raspberry Truffles, (3) Individually Wrapped Chocolate Truffles, Almond Roca Toffee Candy, Godiva Assorted Chocolate Gem Truffles, Chocolate Classique Chocolate Truffles, Ghirardelli Chocolate Toffee Bar, Heavenly Gourmet Chocolate Chip Cookies, Big Dipper 6 Piece Belgian Dipped Cookies and Pretzels, Ice Wine Milk Chocolate Truffles, Chocolate Meltaway Bites, presented in an Oval Willow Woven Basket. Each basket is hand crafted with attention to detail, shrink wrapped and tied with a bow for presentation, ready for gift giving. To include a personalized gift message or to notify your recipient who purchased this thoughtful gift, you must select GIFT during checkout, allowing you to input your own personalized best wishes. This is an original gift basket arrangement designed by Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets

    Mother’s Day Fruit Gift Basket

    Fruit

    A delicious collection of treats in an attractive reusable basket for Mom! Fresh fruits are paired with a handmade cheese, nuts, strawberry jam and more.

    Mother’s Day Gift Basket – Breakfast in Bed

    Breakfast

    She used to make you the best breakfasts ever, right? Well, it’s time to return the favor. Show her how much you appreciate her years of hard work by sending her an unbeatable breakfast. Comprised of gourmet foods like wild Maine blueberries, Stonewall Kitchen’s pancake mix, and artisan coffee, this gift makes a Mother’s Day she’ll never forget.

    Mother’s Day Gardner Organic Gardening Gift Tote

    Organic Garden

    Earthly pleasures abound in this adorable gardening tote filled with the tools of the trade, and organic snacks to boot. When you’re ready to take a break from composting, planting or harvesting your garden, treat yourself to an organic bite. This healthy gift basket includes: -Gardening tools -Shortbread cookies -Indulgent lemon tea cookies -Dried fruit snacks, -Soothing tea and more. Also includes refreshing rosemary and mint hand wash. Truly a lovely and unique gift!

  • Summer Boredom Busters : Inexpensive tips to make this Summer “funner”
    By on April 25, 2014 | No Comments  Comments

    Summer Boredom Busters for KidsEveryone looks forward to Summer break after a long school year, but it seems not even a week goes by before we hear “I’m Bored”.  Trying to plan activities around town can also be expensive without careful planning and budgeting and you can easily break the bank trying to keep kids busy. This Summer you can avoid 3 long months of boredom for your kids and have a more fun-filled Summer vacation with these 10 Summer boredom busters to keep your kids busy, involved and having fun this Summer.

    1. Create a routine – It sounds counter productive but kids are really creatures of habit.  When school is in session they get up, eat breakfast, get dressed, get on the bus – they know what is expected of them and when.  Too much freedom leads rapidly to boredom, so by setting up a schedule you are in effect heading boredom off at the pass.  While a Summer Schedule doesn’t have to be rigid it should still be there so children have an idea of what they should be doing when.  Remember to schedule in some study time to head off the Summer slump and make sure your kids are on track when school starts up again.

    2. Make a Boredom Jar -  Scour Pinterest for ideas on making this Boredom Buster.  From giving mom a pedicure to washing the car and creating Aboriginal Hand Art  ( really) – there are a ton of projects and chores to add to your boredom jar to keep kids busy .  Because the  jar ideas are interspersed with chores kids will learn not to complain about boredom too quickly lest they get a chore to complete.

    3. Find the local YMCA - Your local YMCA has lots of affordable Summer activities for kids of all ages.  From swimming to arts and crafts there will be something for your kids at the local Y.  Summer programs tend to fill up fast so it’s a good idea to start checking early.

    4. Kids Bowl Free - Many Bowling Alleys around the country are participating in the kids Bowl Free Free program.  Each alley selects certain days of the week where kids can come and bowl at no cost . Check the website for participating alleys near you

    5. Library Programs -  From reading hours, to Lego builds and organized games your local library is a lot more than a book repository.  Check out the programs near you for kids of all ages at the library.

    6. Start Geocaching –   Summer is a great time to get out side but daily visits to the park can get old fast.  Geocaching will get your family outdoors and engaged in a fun activity.  Learn all about this fun outdoor treasure hunt and get Geocaching this Summer.

    7. Volunteer –  Helping others is a great way to fight boredom this Summer.  Kids of all ages can get involved in their communities in one capacity or another.  Check out how to get started volunteering with kids this Summer.

    8. Get a job - From a lemonade stand to mowing lawns let kids earn their keep this Summer.  Not only does having a job fight boredom it also teaches responsibility and money management skills.

    9. Summer Movie Programs –  AMC theaters , Regal theaters and other theaters have Summer movie programs where you can re-see a flick on the Big screen for just a dollar or two .  Movies are a great way to be entertained and beat the Summer heat.

    10. Plant a Garden –  Kids love to see things grow and you’ll love the fresh vegetables and happily occupied kids.  Get in touch with your families green thumb and start a Garden this Summer .

  • 15 Mother’s Day Crafts
    By on April 19, 2014 | 3 Comments3 Comments  Comments

    Strong Single Mom Network Mothers Day Craftt Round UpMother’s Day is just around the corner. What better way to say I love you than with a handmade gift. Below I put together a full list of great Mother’s Day gifts you can make with your little ones. Be sure to leave me some feedback below telling me which one you plan to try! Also do not forget to PIN, SHARE, and COMMENT! (more…)

  • Moving Tips – Simplify Packing
    By on April 7, 2014 | No Comments  Comments

    Tips_to_simplify_packing

    Moving is one of the most exhausting experiences you are likely to encounter. Some may find moving exciting and easy, others, not so much. No matter how quickly you need to move, staying organized and using boxes to pack is the best way to maintain your sanity. Failing to do so will be disastrous later. Even if you are moving around the corner, you still need to pack appropriately.

    Finding Boxes:

    Boxes is the one thing you should never have to pay for. There are a variety of ways you can pick them up for free. Often moving boxes are listed in “curb alert” sections of Craigslist and local yard sale websites for free pickup.

    Another great way to find free boxes is to check with your local grocery and liquor stores. Early Monday and Friday are the best days to do this as they are preparing and restocking from the weekend.

    If you don’t have time to request/locate free boxes, most hardware stores (Lowes & Home Depot) now carry a large selection of packing supplies that are relatively inexpensive. Please know, these boxes are less durable than the boxes reused from your local grocery.

    How to Handle Breakables:

    Don’t use newspaper to pack your dishes as newspaper leaves ink all over them. You have enough to take care of when you arrive at your new place, rewashing your already clean dishes should not be necessary. Instead, use your clean linens.

    Yes, you read that correctly! Use your clean sheets, towels, blankets, and curtains to pack your dishes and breakables. This will save you space instead of packing them separately AND help you to keep everything clean.

    Stretch Wrap & Tape:

    There are several moving tapes available, even those that are labeled and color coded for separate rooms. These tapes are neat, however, it is important to also purchase standard moving tape for sealing the bottoms of your boxes. The labeled tapes are known for splitting and having poor stick.

    Purchase your tape in large quantities to avoid mid-packing trips to the store.

    Stretch wrap is the way companies pack their bulk products. It is amazingly strong and useful and a must-have for packing! Wrap each packed box twice to help close the box and to insure the box stays secure without losing it’s bottom.

    Box Labeling:

    Don’t waste your money on room labels and tapes. Often, you are left with several wasted labels for rooms you don’t have, and not enough labels for the rooms you do. Unless labels are something you strongly desire, skip them and stick with using markers. Remember to purchase several markers so everyone involved in your packing project can easily access them.

    Don’t stop labeling your boxes. It is necessary. Try to label the contents of the box as well as well as the room location and care recommendation.

    moving_label_Fragile_Strong_Single_Mom_Moving_Tips

    Packing Procedure:

    Avoid mixing contents of your boxes while bearing in mind weight restrictions. If your box is at the maximum weight limit and you still have room atop, fill the space with pillows or other plush items.

    Boxes containing books are often packed over appropriate weight limits. Use only small boxes for books. Be sure the box can be lifted before closing.

    Tip: Don’t pack away your important papers folder/firebox. Lock these items in your car the morning of moving day.

    Use the following procedure for each box:

        1. Use packing tape to seal the bottom of the box before packing
        2. Pack box
        3. Use a small amount of tape to close the lid
        4. Wrap the box (end to end) two times with stretch wrap
        5. Label Box with markers

    Clothing:

    Keeping your folded clothing inside of your dresser drawers will save box space and save you time unpacking.

    Gather bunches of hanged clothing together and use a zip-tie at the top of the hangers to keep them together. Poke a hole through the middle bottom of a large garbage bag and place over the bundled clothing. Tie the bottom of the bag to keep dirt away from the clothing.

    Packing Cords & Electronics:

    Roll each cord individually and zip-tie together. Place inside of a zipper bag and label the purpose (living room TV, desktop computer, stereo speakers, etc.)

    Tape remote controls to the back of each television. Wrap flat screens in soft blankets and use a modest amount of stretch wrap to secure them.

    Nearing the End:

    The odds and ends of packing can be the most exhausting part of moving. You’re tired, you’re ready for it to be over, and you are still finding stuff everywhere! What you will create next are the boxes that no one likes to unpack. The best way to move through the final stretch is to stay organized.

    Take a look around the home and see what you have left. You are likely finding small toys, excess power cords, mail, magazines/books, and office supplies – don’ pick them up just yet. Line up several smaller boxes in the main portion of your home – one box for each type of leftover you encounter. Begin to sort through the leftovers and toss them in the appropriate box. Don’t close these boxes until you have checked EVERY ROOM for leftovers and you are ready to leave the house!

    Before you Leave:

    Don’t forget to check the closets, cabinets, and attic! Normally these are great places for you to hide your belongings but they are often forgotten when moving. Check every cabinet in the home and garage, all closets, and even the attic for your personal items.

    After your final swoop, grab your welcome mat and check your mail.

  • Sleepovers: The Hot Topic for Single Moms
    By on February 5, 2014 | No Comments  Comments

    single-mom-sleepoversAs a parent, when it comes to the question “when do you start allowing sleepovers,” this usually means, “At what age do you allow your child to start spending the night at a friend’s house?”

    But for SINGLE parents, the topic of sleepovers takes on a new meaning altogether.

    This can be a controversial topic.  But I’m standing my ground on this one, Strong Single Moms.  As a single mother, there’s no room for sleepovers with a boyfriend while the kids are home.  It can wait until the kids are at their dad’s house, staying the night with a friend, at grandma’s house – whatever.

    Of course, that’s my opinion.  So I asked the Strong Single Mom Network’s Official Psychology Expert Lisa Gomez, MA LPC – owner of Becoming Transformed Counseling Services in Surprise, AZ.  Here’s what Lisa had to say: (more…)

  • Does What You Eat and Drink Make You Look Older?
    By on January 3, 2014 | No Comments  Comments

    With all the money we spend on anti-aging creams and cosmetics, it’s obvious we all want to look younger than we actually are.  But is what we’re putting inside our bodies actually making us look older?

    According to Yahoo Shine’s article 10 Foods and Drinks that Make You Look Older Than You Are, there are things that we consume that makes us look older than our actual age.

    As a single mom, some of the food and beverages that made it on this top 10 list will be difficult to avoid.  After all, what single mother doesn’t give into the budget-friendly and quick to prepare hot dog or cold cuts from time to time?  And give up coffee??  Ha.  Not gonna happen – at least not for me!

    But there are a few on the list that will not only help you look younger, but are fairly easy to replace: (more…)

  • J.K. Rowling, Author of Harry Potter Series, and Her Days as a Single Mom
    By on October 1, 2013 | No Comments  Comments

    jk-rowling-official-portraitHarry Potter has taken the world by storm.  A series of novels that turned into movies and merchandise was conceived in the mind of J.K. Rowling.  Like any successful fiction novel, writing the books took courage, imagination, and above all a dedication to see the completed works published.  It took hard work, long hours, and great sacrifice.

    So what makes the Harry Potter author different than other successful fiction authors?  It’s the fact that she began the journey into the world of Harry Potter while she was a single mom living on government aid.

    J.K. Rowling’s is a story that every Strong Single Mom should find inspiring.  After all, we all have dreams and hopes and desires that live deep inside of us. (more…)

  • “Mom Matters Series” – Jordin Sparks and her mom Jodi
    By on September 6, 2013 | No Comments  Comments

    Behind many success stories is a Mom who encouraged their child and sacrificed to help that child reach their dreams.

    The new series “Mom Matters” from the Strong Single Mom Network is here to share those stories!  As a Strong Single Mom, sometimes it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day and forget how much our influence matters in our child’s life.  With the “Mom Matters” series, we hope to encourage you…after all, YOU matter more than you know to your little ones.

    Kicking off the “Mom Matters” series is pop star and Season Six winner of American Idol Jordin Sparks and her mom Jodi.  Jordin shares about the important role her mom played in helping her achieve her dreams, and Jodi Sparks gives advice to help encourage any mom in helping their child reach their dream.

    A huge thank you to Jordin Sparks and her mom Jodi Sparks for granting us an interview from Barrett Jackson’s Lifestyle Pavilion before her performance.  And a big thank you to Lindsey Beres, founder of Aquarian Media Group for filming and for setting up the interview.

    We appreciate the encouragement for Strong Single Moms and their children around the world.

    Do you have a Mom Matters story?  We want to hear from you.  Contact us by filling out this form and we will consider your story for the next Mom Matters video from Strong Single Mom Network.

  • Finances and the Strong Single Mom
    By on August 31, 2013 | No Comments  Comments

    Finances_for_the_Single_MomIt’s the most difficult part of being a single parent: finances.  Somehow it doesn’t seem to matter how much you earn in your career.  Whether you have a high-level corporate job making 6 figures per year, or work 3 jobs at minimum wage – it’s tough.

    If you’re just beginning the process of becoming a single mom or if you’ve been a single mother for some time and find your financial situation changing, it can be tricky.  After all, one of the great things about being a Strong Single Mom is not having anyone else around to tell you what you can and cannot do.  Of course, that’s one of the downfalls of being a Strong Single Mom, too. (more…)

  • “Mom, Where’s Dad?” How to Answer the Toughest Question
    By on August 30, 2013 | No Comments  Comments

    Mom_Where_Is_Dad_Strong_Single_Mom_NetworkIt’s a moment no single mother looks forward to – the one where our precious little one asks the inevitable question, “Mom, where’s my dad?”

    If Dad’s not in the picture for your children, you know this question will be asked at some point.  And even if you’re expecting it, you don’t look forward to actually answering it.

    There’s a million and one things that may come to mind, but as the Mom of this precious child we somehow realize that not EVERYTHING that comes to mind would be beneficial to actually say.

    So how DO you answer this ticking time bomb? (more…)