Uncommon Gifts from Uncommon Goods: a Review and GIVEAWAY

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…well, maybe not beginning. That began the day after Halloween at some stores, and the day after Thanksgiving everywhere else. So it’s time to start picking out gifts for the the people I love. What? Haven’t I started that already? Um…not really. I find that that Christmas radio station, the fully decorated stores and neighborhoods, and the looming countdown calendar really inspire me.

This year, like most years, I’m doing some of my shopping in person, and some of my shopping online. I’ve really migrated to online shopping for the children because it’s easier to hid things that are already in plain brown boxes. I also like to shop online for family that lives far away, because if it has to be shipped, it may as well be shipped straight from the source.

When Uncommon Goods contacted me about a review, I was eager to do some online shopping and see what they offered.

In a nutshell, they offer FUN. They offer UNIQUE. They offer a convenient way to shop for things that are doing good things for artisans, the environment and a variety worthwhile causes (seriously- they’re dedicated to making the world a better place- check out their mission statement).

So what did I find? I’ll be honest. I found a couple of things for myself. Well, one thing exclusively for me, and one thing to share with Leilan.

coffee chart mugIn their Gifts under $25 section, I was seriously considering a few things for a few people. Then I found the Coffee Chart mug. And ordered it for myself. It’s my new go-to at home mug, and it’s fun to look at as I sip my morning java. It’s oversized and fun, and I don’t think I’ve gotten a new mug since I stopped teaching four years ago. It was time.

There are plenty of other fun things in their online store under $25- including other mugs, unicorn horns, barware, kitchen items, and more. It’s fun to browse, and it you’ve got a gift exchange to go to, you’ll find something no one else will bring.

It’s easy to shop by price point, occasion, or recipient.

After choosing my mug, I really was going to find something to gift someone else. Then, I found their personalized gifts.  I considered ordering a couple of wedding gifts early. I love the Intersection of Love print and the etched champagne flutes and everything you could get with your name or your initials or your state on it.

And then I saw it.

It’s probably because I had just finished reading Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, and I was thinking of all the good mixed tapes I’ve had in my life. What’s funny is that I had just finished reading Landline by the same author when the pillow was delivered and I am SO GLAD I made this choice.

Uncommon Goods mixed tape side A

Uncommon Goods cassette pillow


{The Giveaway}

Are you ready to do some shopping at Uncommon Goods? I highly recommend them. Both items I received came quickly, were packaged well, and are of good quality. You really should click over and do some shopping.

To help, I’m giving away a $25 credit to shop at Uncommon Goods. Sound good to you?

To enter, just head on over and take a look around. Tell me what you’d buy if you had to make a decision RIGHT NOW in a comment. Then, for extra entries, feel free to share this blog post across social media, and leave a comment for each time you share.

This giveaway will be open until Weds, December 11th at about 9pm. The winner will be notified by email, and have 24 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck and Happy Shopping!

Dinner Delivered to Your Door

Nearly every Sunday night, I sit down with my menu plan notepad, and sketch out our week.

First, I put in all of our standing appointments/commitments.

Then I add in what’s specific to that week.

Then I figure out which nights I’ll have time to cook, which night will be a crockpot night, and which nights we’re having frozen pizza.

Glamourous, I know. My kids are picky, which can make it even more complicated, but that’s another blog post. I fill in the blanks based on time- what time we will get home in the afternoon, and what time we’ll leave in the evening for whatever it is we’re doing. Is there time to bake a meatloaf? Is there time to eat what’s in the crock pot? Am I passing out sandwiches in the car??

Last month, I learned there’s another option in my menu planning arsenal. One that falls somewhere between crock pot night and frozen pizza on the easiness scale, and one that surpasses what I  typically make on the taste scale. Enter: Fresh Artistry.

A couple of weeks ago, Fresh Artistry knocked on my door. I was handed a large box, which claimed to have everything I needed to create a delicious balanced meal for my family. People- that box is MAGIC. With that box, I created this meal, in about a half hour.


Fresh Artistry is now serving the Indianapolis area, delivering everything you need to create a gourmet meal with quality, local ingredients. EVERYTHING, except the pots, pans and utensils is included.












Not only is everything included- everything is sorted by where it goes in your kitchen. There’s a bag for counter items (potatoes, spices, oil), and a bag for fridge items (butter, cheese, green beans), and a separate bag for meat.

Step-by-Step instructions make cooking a snap. Between the instructions that include what to do when (while the potatoes are boiling, mix the sauce, etc) and the fact that everything is pre-measured, dinner came together in no time flat. And because everything was measured already (in the cutest tiny condiment containers), dishes were minimal and my kitchen stayed clean.

Dreamy, right?

Dreamy, and available for families in the Indianapolis area! Fresh Artistry offers meals sized for two adults, and for families with two adults and 2-3 kids. Our meal was plenty for the four of us, plus one delicious lunch the next day (please note however, that my kids only ate about ten bites between them- clearly their problem, not mine).

So what are your options?

For a limited time, you can order just one box to see how it works for your family. After that, you place an order each week for three meals- three meals that included everything from locally sourced ingredients to the 3 tsp of cumin you will need. Each week there’s a set menu, but customized options are available. Each family sized meal is prices at $30, for a total of $90 per week, and the smaller option is $20 per meal/$60 per week. For us, that’s about what we would spend at a very casual (read: fast food or SteakNShake) restaurant. We don’t do that three times a week, but we also don’t eat locally sourced very often either.

Each week, there are 7 recipes from which to choose. Fresh Artistry is happy to do the choosing for you, or you’re welcome to customize your menu each week. That’s it. The BOX OF MAGIC will then arrive at your door on the pre-appointed delivery day.

December is the perfect month to try Fresh Artistry- between the holiday obligations and the weather, who wants to go to the grocery store?

Thank you, Fresh Artistry, for letting us try your services!

MAC Grants for Teachers, a Giveaway for Everyone

Here we are, about halfway to Fall Break. Yes, the East Coast is still learning when the bus comes and how to get to class, but here in Indiana, we are well into the groove. Last week I learned about an fantastic opportunity offered to educators here in Central Indiana and today I’m excited to share that with you.

PLUS, there’s a giveaway that involves school supplies.


MAC grants with URLMcDonald’s of Central Indiana is happy to announce that they are accepting applications for the 15th annual MAC (Make Activities Count) Grants program. This program is open to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teachers in Central Indiana, and awards of up to $500 will be made.

Isn’t that kind of cool? Do you remember middle school? I know so many people who’ve blocked it out. I’ve always thought that teachers of this age group are a special kind of angel. I know that living with a middle school student can be challenging (or so I’ve heard). I can’t quite imagine spending my days with 25-30 of the them. But the teachers that I’ve met who teach middle school LOVE teaching middle school, and I’m so grateful for that.

This program allows teachers to think outside of the box (and budget constraints) and offer their students something they may not be able to experience otherwise.

For more information, please visit www.mcindiana.com for additional information and an online application.


To help spread the word, McDonald’s of Central Indiana is facilitating a giveaway- one lucky reader will win a McDonald’s branded backpack, filled with some McDonald’s goodies, food coupons…and a $25 Target gift card.

To enter, leave a comment telling me something not-awful about your middle school experience. For additional entries, leave a separate comment for each time you share this post. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google Plus sharing is encouraged, so that teachers can learn about this opportunity. Feel free to share on each platform up to once a day! Just be sure you leave a comment each time you do.

A winner will be chosen Sunday evening around 9pm, and the winner will have 24 hours to respond. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

Disclosure: I’m getting a prize backpack too, but all opinions about this program are my own.

Want to increase your chances to win? Check out other local #McDsIndyMoms and their giveaways!

Indy Home School

a Latte with Ott, A