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What am I Buying Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas?

Senior Gift Ideas

One of the toughest age groups to shop for can be your elder Mother, Father, Grandmother, or Grandfather. In this day and age, seniors are living longer, healthier, and more active lives. A meaningful gift can be difficult to choose- especially if you live further away and aren’t sure what their daily lives look like. We broke a list of gifts that most seniors would enjoy into categories to help you choose something that they will cherish.

Practical Gifts for Seniors:

Let’s face it – most of our elderly family members are moving a little more slowly than they used to. They may be more tired, more lonely, and weaker than 10 senior grocery shoppingyears ago. Although you don’t want to choose a present that is too practical, think: a cane or medical alert necklace, there are plenty of extra services and tools that would be much appreciated. A senior home care service, for instance, can provide transportation and grocery shopping services to make life a little easier for the elderly. Maybe having someone stop in for help once a week can help them get an extra day of relaxation.

These kitchen tools could also help seniors who have difficulty grasping or opening containers:

Kitchen / Food & Drink-related Presents:

Shipping or wrapping food itself can be inconvenient and expensive. Even if you use a special service like Edible Arrangements®, you run the risk of food spoiling quickly and going to waste. On the other hand, many people send dry gourmet cookies and crackers as Christmas gifts for seniors, which may sit in a cupboard for a year or more.

A personal gift basket of nonperishable foods (or nonperishable enough to last a month) that you hand select are a meaningful alternative. It is also cheaper to hand pick your basket inclusions than to hire a service to craft and send a package. Some food-related items you may choose to add to the basket could be: cookies or crackers that you know they love, trail mix or nuts that they enjoy, and a gift card to order their favorite Chinese food, and 4 Godiva chocolate bars.

Now that you picked a couple of their favorite edible things, add some wine glasses, DVD’s, crafty dip or spread knives, and cozy slippers. Now, you’ve created a movie night for your loved one(s) instead of sending a generic basket. This is far more thoughtful and far cheaper than an ordinary themed gift basket. Because of shipping complication, this is probably easiest for those who live close to the person getting your present.

Another creative gift is a personalized cheese and appetizer platter. Etsy is buzzing with platters created from melted wine bottles. These are both creative and easy to personalize for the Etsy vendors who let you send them the wine bottle of your choice. For instance, if your grandmother loves starfish, drink a bottle of “the beach house” brand wine which has a starfish logo on the label. Then, send the empty bottle to be melted into a cheese platter for a one-of-a-kind kitchen decoration that she will use and love.

Another easy and creative gift is personalized refrigerator magnets. People love posting pictures of their families, pets, and friends on their refrigerator. To save them the hassle of hanging a picture or picking them up from the floor once they have fallen; purchase large, picture magnets.

Comfort Items:

Who doesn’t love a gift that is soft and relaxing? Try these must-haves for lazy, lounge-around-the-house days:plush blankets

  • Plush bathrobe
  • Mattress toppers
  • Therapeutic pillows
  • Blankets and down comforters
  • Soft chairs and rugs

Even if someone already owns one of these items, they may be due for a replacement. Usually things that are soft and fluffy eventually deflate or wear out.

Subscriptions or Activities:

Some popular subscriptions and monthly gifts that your senior family member may enjoy include:

  • monthly clubsMagazines
  • Wine and alcohol clubs
  • Coffee and tea clubs
  • Food, dessert, or chocolate clubs
  • Netflix or Amazon Prime

Although many of us have an image of our parents or grandparents lounging around the house all day, the opposite may be true. Some people are actually far more active than your younger family members after retirement, with extra time to jog, garden, and explore their interests. For seniors falling into this category, they may prefer you give them activities over excuses to lounge around the house and eat. Some examples of activities you can give them include:

  • activity ticketsMuseum passes
  • Yoga, cooking, painting, or other classes
  • A weekend vacation
  • Massage or spa gift certificate (for a relaxing activity)

Gift of Time and Companionship:

To many of our elder population who can afford their life necessities and whims, spending time with their loved ones is the most precious gift. Going to a restaurant, seeing a movie, spending a day in the park, or a fishing trip on the nearest river may be an easy and treasured solution in these situations.

gift of time

These gift options cover a variety of categories and price ranges. If nothing jumped out at you as the perfect present, try scanning the options again to see if anything inspires you. Some of these ideas are painfully specific, so you may need to think of some variations on your own that best suit your senior family member.

One of the key concepts here is customization. You can customize almost anything with pictures or a theme that they will love. You may also have noticed that most of these items can be found on Bed Bath & Beyond, so it may be helpful to take a lap around your local store. Needing something beyond the beyond? Try Amazon for the ultimate selection, but make sure you leave extra time for ordering (especially around the Holiday season). Happy shopping, and good luck!

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Great Gifts for Preschool Teachers

crayonsIf your child is enrolled in preschool or attends a day care program in Brandon, you may want to show her teacher some appreciation around the holidays, or toward the end of the year. There are a number of things you can get for a preschool or day care teacher, some of which have a more practical use. These ideas will give you a good start on getting the perfect gift for the teacher in your child’s life.

School-Related Items

Did you know that most teachers spend their own hard-earned money on classroom supplies? Instead of allowing your child’s teacher to do that, take a peak around the classroom and try to fill in a few blanks. Is the play-doh old and hard? Buy a new box with a variety of colors in it. Does your child talk about running out of paper in the art corner? Buy some construction paper to fill the box. Teachers are used to thinking about their students, and if you give them a gift that will save them money and help the students at the same time, you have done well.

Gift Cards

If you don’t know the teacher well, gift cards can be a lovely gift. She can use the cards on school supplies, herself, or whatever else she sees fit. Giving a gift card shows appreciation and allows the teacher to make the ultimate decision as to what she wants or needs. Get a gift card to a craft store, a restaurant, a grocery store, or a variety of other places.


Preschool teachers love decorating the classrooms for special times of the year, but decorations are often expensive, and not every programs has the money to supply them. If you are crafty and love to make things, think about some fun decorations the teacher can highlight in the classroom. You could make a wreath out of crayons or any number of other things.

An Appleapple

You may think that giving the teacher an apple is a bit old fashioned, but apples remain a symbol of teaching. Instead of a simple shiny red apple, think about what the teacher likes. If you’ve noticed that she wears jewelry, find a necklace with an apple pendant, or apple earrings to show your thanks. Apples are a classic and you can’t go wrong.


Can you imagine having kids of that age running around you all day long? It’s a tough job. Preschool teachers need a break too. Get the teacher a spa day package to give her some much needed time away from it all. It could include a massage, a pedicure, or other items as you see fit.


Any day care program should have a room filled with books, but books are expensive and these programs cannot always afford the newest, latest books. Get a package of age-appropriate books that the teacher can read to the children. Try to investigate the room and see what she might already have so you don’t get any duplicates.

A Night at the Movies

After a long day with young children, teachers likely want to kick of their shoes and enjoy some time away from constant questions. Get the teacher a DVD or a gift card to buy one herself. Include a box of microwave popcorn, some candy, and soda. She will have a complete evening of enjoyment thanks to your gift.

These ideas give you a start on finding the perfect gift for the teacher within the day care program that helps watch and teach your child. Showing your appreciation is important and any of these gifts will be ones that the teacher will remember for many years to come.

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How to Pick the Auto Insurance that’s Right for You

model by careWhen shopping for car insurance, you will quickly find out how much competition there really is out in the Woodbridge, VA area. You will probably come across many super deals, but it’s very important to read all of the fine print. Here in this reading, I’ll explain everything you need to know to choose the auto insurance that is perfect for you and your situation.

Before You Start Searching

The first thing that you must do before you even beginning to look for insurance is to understand all of your options and what one is right for you. In Virginia, DMV requires every driver to have a minimum of liability coverage. This ensures that any property or bodily damage to others is covered. If you have ever heard of full coverage car insurance, this is referring to adding collision and comprehensive coverage to your liability plan. Comprehensive covers other damages not related as a result of a car accident. These examples include theft, vandalism, weather damages, etc. The collision part would cover damages to your vehicle. You can also increase benefits that will help you if you get damages from uninsured/underinsured motorists, coverage for rental vehicles, roadside assistance, medical coverages, and gap coverages. Within each level of full coverage, you can also set fiscal values of how much the insurance will pay out. With higher coverages, come higher premiums. Your driving record will also affect how much your premiums cost you annually.

Building your Car Insurance Plan

When you get a feeling for how car insurance in Woodbridge works, then you can start forming your plan. Let’s say you have a year old Ford Navigator. You’re not required to have full coverage but, in this case, the value of your car would be well worth getting the full coverage. If you ended up doing damage to your car, you don’t want to be left without enough cash to get it repaired. With this being said, you should definitely have collision coverage. But what if someone tries to steal your car? You’re going to want a comprehensive coverage for that. The Navigator is a very popular SUV and it is a highly stolen car. It will cost a little more for this coverage, but it is well worth it when you come back to the spot you just parked it and you realize that it is no longer there. In my belief, I feel like personal injury protection is some of the most beneficial coverage of all because no one can predict how much damage will actually occur during an accident. It doesn’t feel good to get hit with a $500K hospital bill right after you get out of the hospital.

The Best Car Insurance Company

When you have your plan all figured out, you can then seek out a reputable auto insurance company like Insurance Doctor. There are many other auto insurance companies in Woodbridge, VA like All State, Geico, and Progressive, but I have found Insurance Doctor to have the best customer service. Another route for investigating the reliability of a company is to check out their financial status. Do they have the funds to pay out whenever you have an accident?

With all this in mind, it is now your time to start searching for the best car or motorcycle insurance out there. Make sure to take your time and choose wisely!

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How to Shop for a Diamond Engagement Ring

Shopping for an engagement ring is an exciting experience – but it’s also known to cause additional stress for the groom-to-be. Luckily, this undue stress can be abated by knowing all the facts and details about this significant piece of jewelry. A typical engagement ring comes with one or several sparkling diamonds, in various sizes, shapes, cuts, and styles. So how can you know what’s best, and what your significant other will appreciate?

engagement ring

Anyone from professional jewelers to laymen and women with meager jewelry experience can attest to the “4 C’s” of diamond shopping. These are the fundamental and most crucial criteria that determine the quality value of diamond, and include color, cut, carat, and clarity. A flawless, or virtually flawless, diamond is considerably worth more than one with a major imperfection or numerous minor imperfections. Although imperfections are difficult for the naked and untrained eye to spot, such a ring won’t maintain its value, no matter its size. A smaller and more perfect stone is therefore more valuable than a larger one with imperfections – take this into consideration if you only have so much money to spend on a ring.

The cut of the diamond is immediately noticed by every onlooker, including the bride-to-be. Be sure to choose a cut that she’d appreciate, and in a size best suited to her personal style. It should be designed to suit the size of her hand as well. A large ring may look awkward on a small hand, and a smaller ring would get lost on a larger hand. If budget interferes with the size of the diamond, your jeweler should be able to give you an experienced recommendation to fit your needs. A jeweler with vision can help design a custom ring that would enhance the main diamond, regardless of its cut, making it appear larger than if it were a solitary gem. Enhance a smaller, lesser quality round stone by framing it with tiny round diamonds, for instance, in order to add a sparkle that demands attention.

Some cuts also require help for added sparkle, such as the emerald cut. The emerald cut has only a few facets, so it can’t compare to the natural brilliance of other cuts, like the brilliant or round cuts. In such a case, your jeweler can add baguettes on either side of the stone to provide more facets, which will allow more light to reflect. The design of the engagement ring and the setting of the stone are almost as important as the diamond itself.

Keep in mind that a jeweler is an artist that works with precious stones and metals – he should spend time with you to understand your likes, dislikes, and your budget. Some people believe that a man should spend the equivalent of three months’ salary on the engagement ring, but this is only a personal choice, as a beautiful diamond ring can be much less or much more expensive.

When your relationship has reached this stage, pay attention to the style of rings that appeal most to your significant other. It’s possible that she may already be dropping hints. If not, a close friend of hers will likely be able to help provide a suggestion or two. When deciding on the jewelry itself, as in the color of the gold, consider the types of jewelry she wears daily and at special events. If she adores silver, then it may be best to choose white gold that would blend well with her other accessories.

Remember that the second-most important aspect of shopping for an engagement ring begins with finding a trusted jeweler. A reliable jeweler, such as Stevens Jewelers which specializes in stunning Henrico diamonds, will help you to make the best choice. The most important aspect of engagement ring shopping is, of course, keeping life-long, enduring love at the forefront of your mind.

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6 Fun & Clever Ways to Gift a Car

Car Gifting

Sometimes half the reaction of giving a gift comes from the way you give it. Telling someone to go see their new car in the driveway with a big red bow isn’t half as fun as challenging them to find it. Now that you’ve spend countless hours shopping around a new or used car dealership, it’s time to get creative! Here, we listed 6 cute ways to give a car away as a present without being cliche.

  • Scavenger Hunt

Have an indoor scavenger hunt. The fun of having it inside is that the person receiving the present thinks it is small enough to fit in a room or small hiding spot. Have them look in the drier, the shoe closet, bathroom cupboard, etc. for clues. Then, have the final clue be the address to where you parked the car (preferably in the neighborhood or within walking distance).

  • New Driver Kit

Instead of the class “pull a key out of the stocking” trick, wrap a box full of new driver items. This makes the gift look like a regular-sized present. In the kit, you could include: hand sanitizer, wipes, snacks, car window cleaner, air freshener, a steering wheel cover, ice scraper, etc.

  • Toy Car Replica

If you are set on giving a tiny sized present, maybe choose a toy car over a key. This is even cooler if you can find a tiny replica of the real thing. The recipient may be a little startled or confused at the sight of a toy, but you will get to see the look on their face when they put it together a couple of seconds later.

  • The Valet Trick

On the morning of the birthday or holiday, go out for brunch somewhere with valet service. Have the person getting the new car drive everyone in their old vehicle. When it’s time to leave, have the valet bring out the new car instead (which will have to be parked at the restaurant ahead of time for the plan to work).

  • Running Errands

Another method is to have the car receiver run some errands for you. Make a list of supplies that is primarily car accessories (like in the new driver kit mentioned in #2). State that you need these things for your car. Then, have the car parked in the driveway with a bow on it. When they return from running errands, they will now see the new car and have a bunch of cool things to go with it.

  • Balloon

A final, simple way to give a car key is to place it inside of a balloon. This is easy on a birthday, when balloons are tied around the birthday boy or girl’s chair. It may take them a while to notice and pop, but they will be taken totally off guard.

These are just a few simple ways to give a car – visit this blog for some more ideas. No matter which you choose, I am sure the new car owner will be thrilled with this present.

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The Coolest Summertime Gifts for Kids

Stay Cool with These Cool Toys

Shopping for kids with summer birthdays is usually easy and fun! From swim suits to beach sand castle kits to cool towels, there are plenty of options all over the place. Instead of swinging by the dollar store for your latest summer child’s party, try one of these more creative gifts that kids are bound to love.

Some daycare franchises push for outdoor play time, but often kids are limited to being indoors on hot summer days. Give them an excuse to play outside by finding water-related toys that will help them stay cool in the heat.

For the Backyard:

Water guns are always a fun choice for gifts. But just one isn’t enough – giving a variety of super soakers encourages kids to invite others over to play too. Giving the gift of 3+ water guns is like giving a child the opportunity for multiple summer play dates.

Slip n’ slides are other great gifts for kids. Your typical slip n’ slide can be a cheap as $20-$30. If you are okay with spending a little more and looking for something special, try this surfing water slide. At $129.95, any child can have endless hours of outdoor entertainment. This semi-challenging activity includes a skim board and surface with a small layer of water. While you surf, get sprayed with the built in sprinklers to stay cool.

For the toddlers, you could purchase a cheap kitty pool. Or, you could purchase the ultimate play pool! This Bonzai™ Splish Splash Pool is equipped a mini waterslide, a palm tree, and inflatable dolphin, and more in a shallow wading playground area. For just $29.95, it’s a steal.

For the Pool or Beach:

Not all pools allow large floats, so some of these may be better suited for a backyard pool. Check out Pool Pricer for inflatable animals, buses, spheres, and other cool varieties of floats.

Mermaid tails are another new trend for girls. Just be warned, they hold your feet together, so make sure you only give these presents to experienced swimmers! While some kids would rather take pictures in these toys on the beach, others may find it fun to practice swimming like a fish.

The best part about these toys? They designed and meant for kids, but parents can enjoy them as well. For instance, the tiny pool playground lets supervising adults splash around in the cool water also. Floats are great for people of any age, no matter how silly they look. So for a summer birthday, don’t default to the typical plastic shovels and buckets. Instead, find something a little more creative and enjoyable.

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Granite Gifting

Granite: a Unique Gift for Anyone

Finding a unique gift for the people who have it all is extremely challenging. You may ask yourself: “Will this be nice enough?” “Will they actually use this?” In these instances it is always better to choose a small, quality present over a larger one. For instance, for your uncle who owns a Mercedes would likely appreciate a top notch fountain pen for $30 over a sweater for $30. Purchasing something smaller allows you to encompass more quality at the same price point as a larger item.

What is one of the most elegant fixtures someone can place in their home? Granite is an extremely durable natural stone with a unique visual appeal. No two pieces are alike, and you can customize slabs by having them polished or finished in the style of your choice. Granite retailers, such as NEKA Inc in Northern VA,  have showrooms across the country full of different options that will increase your home’s value and add to its interior design.

If you can afford to give someone new granite countertops in their kitchen, more power to you! Our idea is an affordable approach. We suggest taking a piece of the timeless stone and incorporating it into a present. There are plenty of smaller, novelty items that incorporate granite making incredibly unique gifts.

Granite Gift Retailers

Boone’s Granite Gifts is a retailer with a great selection of small items all manufactured from granite. Best of all, most pieces come in that perfect price point- between $20 and $100. They currently feature the following items:

  • Single wick candle

granite candle

  • Lazy susan 12’’ (revolving tray)

granite lazy susan

  • Cheeseboard

granite cheeseboard

Boone’s also sells coasters, hotplates, and trivets along with a variety of other customizable granite options.

Customized granite means more than adding an etched logo or icon into its surface. It also means having a variety of colors to choose from, including: Absolute Black, Green Diamond, Madura Gold, Sierra White, and more.

If you are more interested in a decoration or paperweight than a kitchen item, this company also has custom etching options. By custom, I mean there is a selection of icons to choose between including simple flowers and sports logos. However, you can also have the personal design of your choice sandblasted into the stones surface.

Another company that does a great job of crafting granite is Deer Isle Granite. One of their most elegant and unique pieces are their clocks. They offer both free standing and options that you hang on the wall. In addition, they also carry candle holders, vases, magnets, book ends, trays, and address plaques.

granite gift pieces

Although most of the items on the website come in a pretty gray, speckled pattern, they also have the option of customization.

Whether you are looking for a gift that can be placed in the office, kitchen, or other area of the home; these two retailers have plenty of choices and a customized selection. For a gift that is truly unique, original, elegant, function and durable, choose a granite piece.

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