Easter is less than 4 weeks away now. What do you do for Easter?
At our house we got up early to hunt for our Easter baskets. Mom and Dad would hide them somewhere in the house the night before and we had to race around the house in our pajamas looking for the goodies. Most of the time we were wild-eyed with bed-head hair and looked like a bunch of crazies. Sometimes Mom and Dad would sleep in a little longer on Easter, rather than the super early rising they had to do on Christmas. They would get up once the sugar buzz hit us and we started being really LOUD!
Our Easter always involved fun new outfits and we got new dresses, shoes, hats and sometimes gloves. My favorite memories include the ever so memorable hats that my mother wore. Keep in mind this was the 60′s and everyone was influenced by Jackie Kennedy’s famous hats. Then we had to stand on the front porch and have our picture taken before anyone got dirty. Off to church to celebrate the day, then back home to eat the ears off our chocolate bunnies.
I don’t remember ever going on an Easter egg hunt. Of course, my big sister who remembers everything will probably correct me.
Years later, when my brother had his kids, my sister had an egg hunt at her house that I thought was very clever. We had the whole family involved from my grandmother, brothers, sisters, niece and nephew, parents. She had made the traditional hard eggs and decorated them, plus had some of the plastic ones that she filled with other treats. Everyone got a basket and we had to go find all the eggs. After they were all found, we went back to find that there were “special” awards based on what you found. First prize was $5 for the person who found the only green egg, second prize was $1 for finding 3 real pink eggs. You got a 50 cent piece for 4 real purple eggs, a quarter for 6 real yellow eggs and a dime for 7 real blue eggs. If you got the most real eggs, you won an egg slicer and if you didn’t get any real eggs, you won an egg salad sandwich! I loved the egg slicer and egg salad sandwich idea. I’m not sure her husband liked the cash prizes as much since she used all his stash money!
What are your favorite memories of Easter?
Online shopping has been increasing every year. How many of you will do some or all of your shopping online this year?
There are definitely some great reasons to shop online including:
- It’s open whenever you want to shop and you don’t even have to get dressed.
- You can compare prices easily
- Most of the time you don’t have to pay any sales tax. Of course this point is moot if you live in Montana as we don’t have a sales tax anyway. FACTOID: Did you know that you are supposed to file and pay your state sales tax yourself if you don’t get charged online?
- You may be able to find items online that you would never find locally…especially if you live in a small town.
- You don’t have to be hassled with lots of people
- You don’t have to stand in line to checkout.
But there are some really good reasons to shop local that you may not even have thought of, and by local I mean your independently owned and operated small businesses.
Did you know?
- For every $100 spent in locally owned independent store, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home.
- If half the employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue. Imagine the positive impact if 3/4 of the employed population did that.*
- Independents offer things that most big box stores can’t….like individualized customer service, free gift wrapping and personalized service.
- Independents support local causes and volunteer in their communities. If you shop regularly at a local business, odds are better that they will help support your cause because they know you.
- Independent businesses help make a community unique and different, offering unusual product mixes and services.
- If you shop locally, you can have it NOW, no waiting for the delivery truck, no worrying if the product is even in stock, no delays for bad weather, no worries if the item will get there unbroken.
The next time you have a choice in buying local or buying online, think about supporting your local businesses instead. It will make your community a better place.
*Information from the 3/50 project. For more information, visit their website
The Moscow Mule was a big hit in the 50s and 60s and is now enjoying a renewed interest. The story goes that John Martin had purchased Smirnoff after WWII and was trying to promote it in the US. He stopped off at the Cock ‘n’ Bull on Sunset Strip where Jack Morgan, the owner, was trying to promote his homemade ginger beer. A third friend had a huge collection of copper mugs he was trying to unload and voila, the Moscow Mule was born! It enjoyed great popularity in the 50’s and 60’s with many celebrity endorsements. There are some variations on it, so this may not be the “exact” recipe as resources show some differences, but this will get you started.
Here’s the recipe:
1 3/4 oz vodka
1/2 oz lime juice
lime wedge for garnish
Oh and it is ginger BEER not ginger ale. Ginger beer is a non-alcoholic “root beer” that has a sweet taste and can be found at most organic grocers.
The renewed interest has brought in many requests for copper mugs. We finally found some….who knew that finding copper mugs would be so difficult….especially since we are so close to “copper” country in Butte? Of course our copper mugs can be personalized just for you, like so many great gifts in our store. Think about the gift giving opportunities! Birthday, groomsman or bridesmaid gifts, retirement, or just because you like the drink. Do you need help figuring out what to say? We are here to help you, with loads of sayings to get you started. Hey, that’s what we do. But don’t wait to give it as a gift, get one for you as well.
Fall is definitely here. I had to run to the store and pick up some dog food for Turbo last night and left in my short sleeved little top that I have worn all summer. That cold arctic style wind was a-blowin and the goose bumps were flying. BRRRRR! I like fall, but I sure wish we could have just a little longer spell of summer. So I am headed off to Vegas for a few days to get my last blast of summer in. I will be sitting around the pool, soaking up some sunshine while researching some ideas for the store for 4th quarter.
What do you think about when fall rolls around? At our house, it’s all about hunting. My husband is an avid hunter and thinks about it pretty much all year round. He’s always planning either the current trip or the next trip. Our granddaughter went out with them last year and had a great time, so he’s very excited about taking her out this year and teaching her all his techniques. We are working on a generational thing here, as there is my Dad, my husband, our son and our granddaughter. It’s good to hand down these experiences and skills so each learns to appreciate it.
Fall makes me think about colorful leaves. It isn’t as spectacular here as it is back in upstate New York, but there is plenty of color to look for. What I really miss is fresh pressed apple cider and fried cakes (plain cake donuts). We used to have a cider press right in town and as soon as the end of September hit, we were down there filling up our gallon jugs of fresh cider and going over to the Super Duper and buying hot, fresh donuts to go with. Yummy. Fall is all about comfort foods too. Homemade chili and cornbread, hot fresh soups and fresh baked bread. Do you have any favorite foods that you like in the fall?
Lots of folks are thinking about football. I have to tell you that my eyes tend to glaze over at the thought of football. My parents were big fans of football and I remember many a Sunday when they watched a game on TV. There was plenty of cheering, yelling and some boisterous instructions to the coach if the team wasn’t doing well. We will cheer on the Cats and Griz and sometimes watch the Super Bowl, but that’s about it for us for football. I do enjoy a good game of hockey though.
We can’t forget about Halloween, that big party time at the end of October. Halloween used to just be about costumes and trick or treating. Now everyone loves to go to parties! I used to enjoy trick or treating, but later preferred dressing up at home and handing out the treats. I would get all dressed up in something really scary or spooky. I still get to have that fun during our annual trick or treat parade here at the Gallatin Valley Mall. It’s a great safe place for the kids to come to trick or treat. Plus you don’t have to worry about the weather messing up your costume. Many a year most costumes were more about winter jackets, hats and boots than about witches and ghosts. I am always looking for easy costumes to wear that I can still work in comfortably. So if you are looking for easy outfits, stop into High Country Gifts. We offer some unique items for babies and adults.
I am looking for some ideas for games to play at Halloween parties. What are your favorites? Mine involves an orange or ball in the end of a pair of nylon stockings. You tie the stocking to your waist with the ball hanging down towards the floor. There is another ball on the floor that you must get over the finish line. You must swing your stocking ball to propel the other ball over the goal line, but you cannot use your hands. This is completely hilarious to play and to watch! I am looking for some other fun games to play and would love to hear from you.
Don’t forget to find us on Facebook if you haven’t already. It’s the quickest way to find out about new items in the store, get some deals and steals and just have fun with us. We love hearing from you.
Today we are talking with our favorite Christmas tree decorator, Holly Beary.
Me: Holly Beary thanks so much for joining us. Can you tell me how you get started with a tree decorating idea?
Miss Holly Beary: Thanks for having me. First I find that it helps to get in the mood. I decorate trees for stores a little earlier than most people so I find that being in the Christmas mood gets me started. I watch one of my favorite holiday movies, like White Christmas. After a little Bing Crosby and Christmas music I am ready to go.
Holly Beary: First you start with your tree selection. Fresh or artificial? You have to determine how much space you have. If you have the space, a full round tall tree can look fabulous. A smaller apartment or home might want a narrow tree. If you are really tight on space, you might want a short little tree that you can place on a coffee table or end table. The size and shape of the tree will determine how many lights, ornaments and decorations you will need.
Me: I’ve heard you like lots of lights.
Holly Beary: That’s true, I believe that lights are the core of a successfully decorated tree. Don’t skimp on the lights! I just decorated a 6 foot, slim, lodge pole pine style tree. It’s the kind that the branches don’t go all the way to the floor. I started with 350 of the new LED style lights, then layered another 300 red lights on top of that. If you have an artificial tree that you will be using for several years, take the time to light it properly. All trees will look fuller, richer with the lights woven in. Start at the top, with the lights plugged in, and work the lights out to the end of the branch, then back to center, then down the next branch. Try to keep all the cords close to the branches, you want to see tree, not cords. Repeat this all around the tree until you finally reach the bottom. It’s a lot of work, but if you do it right, it should be good for at least 3 seasons of lighting. The new LED lights may last even longer, as well as using less energy. I know its a lot easier to place your tree in the middle of the room and just walk around it, stringing lights like garland, but my way will make you look like a professional.
Me: Why did you overlay red lights on top of the white?
Holly Beary: I wanted to go for a traditional Christmas look in red, white and green, with just a little twist on the green. I like to take the red lights, and wrap some as singles, but at the end of the branch, I group 3 bulbs together by wrapping with wire. This makes it look like there are red berries in the tree. It’s a simple way to make it look special. I have a favorite set of older style red bulbs that I also group for a berry look.
Me: Ok, lights are on, what’s next?
Holly Beary: Next comes the design. Are you doing a color theme? An ornament theme? Or is this a family project where everyone helps? If this is a family project then bring out all your ornaments and get everyone involved. The best part of the family project is having special, custom personalized ornaments for each member of the family. This brings back fond memories of other holidays and traditions. If you are looking to design a color or ornament theme, then gather up all the items you have found and get started. Don’t be afraid to use different or unusual items in your tree.
Me: What kind of unusual items do you like?
Holly Beary: I like to find one or two really large items to use as a focal point. One year I took a large snowman on a sled and wired him into the tree. Then I used white batting, wrapping it around like garland to make it look like he was sledding down and around the tree. Another year we used a large fishing creel and a fishing pole into a tree with fishing ornaments. Don’t be afraid to try something different, a tree topper doesn’t have to just go on the top of the tree, place it in the tree at an angle. Have fun with it.
Another thing I like are picks, these are berries, leaves or other floral items on a wire that you can stick in the tree. They can add an unusual bit of color or a different element.
Me: What is your favorite tree?
Holly Beary: I love the snowing tree at High Country Gifts & Engraving. It is fun to make and fun to see. You will instantly be in the mood for a White Christmas. Stop in today to see it in action.
We are busy preparing for the holiday season with our marketing and advertising, as well as decorating the store and stocking the shelves. It is a busy time for us. This year we have decided to prepare a television campaign of advertising. In preparation for this, I dug through my archives and found some television ad campaigns we did in 1994 and 1995.
The quality is not top notch as my vhs tapes have degraded slightly over the years, but you will get the idea. We may not stock exactly the same gift items, but the basic story of our store has not changed over the years. We are still the best place to find engraved and personalized gifts. We are still the best place to find fun, unique gifts for everyone on your list. High Country Gifts & Engraving where you will find everything you never knew you needed. New items are always arriving, we cover gifts for baby, weddings, birthdays, graduation, every special occasion is here for you.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed them.
If you live in Montana then you are probably familiar with the huckleberry. For lack of a better comparison, we often tell newcomers and visitors that its kind of a wild blueberry, but the truth is, the flavor is so much more than that. It’s wild, bold and downright delicious. Fresh huckleberries are difficult to find as they grow in isolated areas and picking territories are kept top secret. You can still enjoy huckleberries in delicious jam, syrup and candy without any of the work.
Send family and friends a gift box of huckleberry treats this holiday season. There is nothing better than opening a gift box of huckleberry and sniffing that wonderful aroma. It makes the mouth water just thinking about the tasty goodies inside. We pre-pack our best sellers for you, but you always have the option of building a gift box specific to your needs.
Look for some tasty new huckleberry products. The huckleberry scones are super simple to make, just add water, but taste heavenly, especially with a cup of huckleberry coffee or huckleberry. Bake up a huckleberry pie the easy way with our pie filling. Make your own crust or just use your favorite brand of refrigerated crust, add the huckleberry filling and bake. Serve your pie warm with a little vanilla ice cream and you will have a mouth watering dessert. We take out most of the work, while you reap the rewards and praise for serving unique and delicious pie.
Do you have a sweet tooth in the family? They will love huckleberry cordials, delicious bits of huckleberry in a syrup inside a chocolate coating. We have added some merlot flavoring to our huckleberry cordials to mix things up. If you love wine, you will love merlot huckleberry. It’s available in cordials, candy bars and a wonderful new cake mix. Don’t forget to include huckleberry taffy in your gift box, the aroma will make the delivery man’s mouth water. Kids love our huckleberry or cherry gummi bears.
Our huckleberry products are made right here in Montana. All products have been taste tested by us, and believe me it’s not such a tough job.
Ready to step outside the box with some new flavors? Time to try our margarita line of white chocolate margarita pretzels, bark or margarita cake mix. The pretzels have the salt, a little crunch, sweet chocolate and a hint of lime. What a great combination to combine in your mouth.
It’s time to start shipping your huckleberry gift sets today, so be sure to order online or give us a call so we can get them boxed up and shipped to your favorite or hard to buy for family and friends.
Order Montana huckleberries today at High Country Gifts
Fill Your Easter Baskets with New Webkinz, Huckleberry Candy bar specials, bunnies and bonnets.
New Webkinz arrived just in time for filling Easter baskets. Check out these delightful new arrivals. We have donkey (looks a lot like donkey from Shrek), Warthog (looks a lot like Pumba), Rainbow Armadillo, and Dazzling Daschund. The armadillo has sparkling toenails and the daschund is positively pink.
Signature Webkinz just keep getting better and better. They are very well designed with super soft fur and come with fabulous virtual gifts when you adopt them. Who wouldn’t want one of these? This month we feature the Short Haired Yorkie, the Endangered Asian Elephant and the cunning fox. Quantities are very limited so don’t wait too long to pick one up.
Easter Special Alert!!!! Buy any webkinz pet on Friday or Saturday (April 2-3, 2010) and receive a FREE package of webkinz stickers. One per person, per purchase, while supplies last.
Here’s a few other items for your Easter baskets.
Huckleberry Candy bars will be buy 1 get one 50% off for Friday and Saturday. A delicious addition to any Easter basket.
Remember that we will be closed Easter Sunday.
Kierra came to visit and we had fun playing dress up. I am editing pictures, but check back tomorrow for pics and fun with Kierra.
Don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Look for High Country Gifts & Engraving for our Bozeman Store.
I am amazed yet again at the creative minds of kids. There is truly some talent out there amongst some of our youngest fans.
We postponed our Webkinz Party this year to coincide with Halloween and gave the kids an opportunity to come up with something fun again. This time they needed to dress up their Webkinz in a fun Halloween Costume but they had to use all homemade items. No fair just dressing them up in Webkinz costumes. We divided the entries into age groups so the little kids didn’t have to compete with the older ones.
So let’s see those entries! The gallery pictures don’t always center well, so be sure to click on each picture to see the full image. Full descriptions are also available by clicking on the images.
Now that you’ve had time to see them all, which ones would you vote for? Leave us a comment and we will see who the winner of the people’s choice is.
First place winners receive a Webkinz with a matching Kinz Klip and Webkinz Stickers. Second place winners receive a Webkinz outfit and Webkinz Stickers. Third Place Winners get a Webkinz Figurine and Webkinz Stickers. This year we also awarded all other contestants an honorary prize of Webkinz trading cards just for entering.
Tomorrow is the big party and announcement of the winners. Hope to see you here!
Stop by the store to pick up your entry form for the Costume Contest. Here are the rules:
Design and make a Halloween costume for your webkinz. You can use whatever materials you have on hand, but the costume must be handmade. Submit your entry between Saturday Oct. 24- Thursday Oct. 29. Entries will not be accepted after the store closes on Thursday. Judging will take place on Friday and the winners will be announced at the Webkinz Party.
After the party, stay in the mall for trick or treating from 4pm-6pm. What a fun day!