Tag Archives: experiences

How To Celebrate National Siblings Day

April 10th is National Siblings Day. That’s right, there is a whole day to celebrate the giver of noogies, the person who read your diary, and in my case the master of that annoying childhood game where they refuse to say anything other than to repeat-every-word-you-say.

And hopefully, as in my case, they are also the one(s) you built forts with, went on adventures with and helped take over Mom’s kitchen to try and recreate the slime from You Can’t Do That On Television.

If your brother and/or sister are your oldest friend and confidant and one of the only people who really get your crazy family, then we’ve got you covered with some easy and fun ways to celebrate National Siblings Day.

Me and my little bro. Weren’t we adorable?!

12 Ways To Show Some Sibling Love

Let your inner child out to play:

1. Check out attractions together like the zoo or an amusement park.

2. Get crafty at an art studio like one of the many Painting With a Twist locations or something like our local Pittsburgh gem Little House, Big Art.

3. Get competitive at the arcade (they do still exist!) Search for Arcades in your area on a site like Yelp.

Revisit a favorite childhood activity:

4. Go for a bike ride.

5. Throw the frisbee around or take it up a notch and find a local disc golf course.

6. Game Night! Dust off the Risk, Monopoly or old Pictionary board games.

Sibling Day Out – if you have significant others, kiddos or grandkiddos you may not remember the last time you had some sibling-to-sibling time:

7. Grab the fishing poles for a day on the lake.

8. Organize a round of golf.

9. Or the less physically demanding, round of beers.

Gather the whole family together:

10. Include the spouses, significant others, kids and grandkids, make some old family favorite recipes and pull out the photo albums. What a great way to demonstrate what you’re always telling your own kids “Be nice to your brother! You’ll always have each other.”

Say cheese!:

11. When’s the last time you had professional family photos done with your sibling? Professional photography has come a long way from small studios with the screen backdrops being pulled down behind the carpet covered wood boxes we all sat on. Today’s lifestyle photographers are more likely to meet you at a local park, landmark or your own home. The results are amazing and BONUS – – instant Mother’s Day gift 🙂

Have a virtual get-together:

12. Maybe like me, one or more of your siblings live in a different city. How about using FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype or even a good old-fashioned phone call to catch up with ole’ dookie head.

However you choose to do it, take the opportunity this National Siblings Day to recognize your brother or sister. It’s a sweet thing to do and it’s why you were always Mom’s favorite.

The Hardest Working Anniversary Card

My parents recently celebrated their Sapphire Anniversary, 45 years of marriage. And though they chose to celebrate with a quiet dinner, family and friends still feted them with phone calls and anniversary cards.  Among those anniversary cards there was one card that even I was anticipating – asking my Mom as the day approached “did you get the card yet?”

Purchased for a quarter in 1971 this anniversary card has shared a lot of love and best wishes.

My question needed no other details or prompts, the card is still wrapped in its protective plastic covering and unsigned; the card predates me and has celebrated more than eighty-five wedding anniversaries.  Purchased for a quarter on an army base in 1971, it makes it’s appearance every year.

If you just did a little math in your head you may be questioning my own math skills regarding how an anniversary card purchased in 1971 has celebrated more than eighty-five wedding anniversaries. Let me assure you that my math (in this case at least) is not faulty and allow me to share with you the beautiful story of two of my favorite couples and one very special anniversary card.

Meet My Parents

My parents on their wedding day, March 7, 1970.

The story begins with my parents, Storm and Virginia, who were married on March 7, 1970. Uncle Richard was serving in Vietnam and missed his sister’s wedding.  He returned to the states in January of 1971 where he was stationed at Fort Devens in Massachusetts; and thanks to his trusty yellow Ford Pinto, he made frequent visits home to his family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

In March of 1971 before heading home to visit, he stopped at the PX  (a general store on base) to purchase an anniversary card.  In a rush to get on the road (or maybe to see a particular girl named Janet), he tossed the unsigned card in the Pinto’s glovebox…where it was a round-trip passenger to Lancaster and back to Fort Devens.

Well it’s the thought that counts, right? … because by the time the young soldier on leave reached his hometown, the thoughtful purchase in the glovebox was forgotten.  The card didn’t quite make an appearance at his sister’s first anniversary celebration.

A few months later Richard found the once forgotten card and showed it to my Mom, “Hey Virginia, here’s the anniversary card I got you.”  And familiar as I am with my family’s sense of humor, it doesn’t surprise me that he wouldn’t actually let her have the anniversary card – after all, it wasn’t her anniversary anymore. He stashed the card back in the glovebox, and showed it to my Mom again for year 2…and AGAIN managed to reappropriate the card and stash it back in the trusty Pinto’s glovebox.

So if you’re counting, that’s 1972 and two wedding anniversaries, my parents’ 1st and 2nd years of marriage.

Another Happy Couple Ties the Knot

Wedding Day of my Aunt and Uncle
My Aunt and Uncle on their wedding day, April 1, 1972

Uncle Richard married Janet in the spring of 1972, and the following March as she prepared to celebrated her own 1st wedding anniversary, Aunt Janet found the card and mailed it to my parents for their third anniversary, still unsigned, with a note attached proclaiming Richard had a special anniversary card for them. My Aunt had no idea how soon she’d see that card again, when just a few weeks later her sister-in-law mailed it back to Richard and Janet to celebrate their first wedding anniversary  – April 1st, 1973.

Yes, I am telling you that on April Fool’s Day my Aunt and Uncle celebrated their paper anniversary by receiving back the card ….. still unsigned, still sealed in plastic.

The Making Of a Tradition

Obviously, no one knew then how significant this card would become. It all started out with a card that a brother forgot to give his sister and then decided to recycle – a few times. And on a whim, with her own clever sense of humor, my Mom recycled it again and sent it back to him. And then like most traditions, it just becomes part of the fabric of the family.


May a perfect anniversary

Hold the happy promise, too

Of another year that brings you both

Your favorite dreams-come-true!

And another year, and another year, and another …..

For over 45 years, they have been exchanging that greeting card, still in its protective plastic covering, still unsigned, for their respective anniversaries.  Some years the card was delivered in person. Some years the card arrived via mail.  One year the card even traveled to Egypt where Uncle Richard and Aunt Janet were living.

As a kid, I thought it was a fun tradition, a cool old card that showed up every year. Today, I see the beautiful testament to two strong marriages and a lasting friendship. Two hard-working families with busy lives, busy kids and hectic schedules, they never forgot – every year, twice a year, the card shared it’s wishes back and forth between a brother, a sister, in-laws and good friends. It never needed a signature, the love was written all over that card.

This year my parents celebrated 45 years of marriage and today Aunt Janet and Uncle Richard celebrate 43 years and that card has witnessed every one of them.

UPDATE: Read the final chapter of the story of this anniversary card here.

You Get a Card! You Get a Card! You Get a Card!

Who do you know that’s celebrating an anniversary or a birthday this month? Who can you send a card to TODAY?

And now that you’re feeling inspired (how can you not be?!), join me in the #write_on campaign for National Letter Writing Month and let’s send out the love with 30 cards in 30 days!


Some Sweet Facts About Halloween Candy

It’s October 31st and that means most kids (and many adults) have one thing on their mind – – CANDY!

So let’s talk candy with the help of Rebecca Harris, director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University and a contributor to the program Essential Pittsburgh on Pittsburgh’s NPR news station.

Rebecca recently sunk her sweet tooth into The Business of Halloween Candy for a story on Essential Pittsburgh and now she’s graciously sharing some of the sugary highlights with us.

The Sweet Truth About Halloween Candy

There is no shortage of holidays that prominently feature candy in their festivities (umm…no complaints here!) And with Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day keeping the candy aisles hopping, it’s still Halloween topping the charts for candy sales.


Business of Halloween Candy

Is that sweet tooth aching yet?

Because when trick-or-treating is over and it’s time to shake out the pillowcases and dump out the plastic pumpkins, what can we expect to find in there? For the average U.S. child, 3,500 – 7,000 calories of treats and goodies.

And let me be clear, I’m not anti-sweets. I’m soooo not anti-sweets, but that’s still a lot of candy coming your way. And if you’re like me you may find that hiding or saving candy for later never works; those deliciously wicked Snickers, Twizzlers and KitKats  will tempt you, tease you, and call your name from whatever deep corner you’ve stashed them.

So with Rebecca’s help we’ve got you covered with some ideas for sharing, experimenting and swapping that leftover halloween candy.

7 Creative Ideas For Leftover Halloween Candy

  1. DONATE to your local Ronald McDonald House – they accept wrapped candy for patients and their families. Contact your local chapter for details on how to donate in your area.
  2. DONATE to a local Food Pantry or Emergency Shelter
  3. DONATE candy to our troops –  Operation Gratitude organizes a program for collecting and donating sweet treats to the troops. Their website provides guidelines and instructions. Hurry – the candy needs to ship by November 15th!
  4. REVERSE TRICK-OR-TREATING – contact local children’s hospitals, hospital pediatric wards and nursing homes about opportunities to come trick-or-treat and GIVE your treats to their patients and residents. Now that’s what I call treating!!
  5. TRADE with a local dentistThe Halloween Candy Buy Back Program is supported by local dentists who trade cash and prizes for candy. The dentists then ship the sweet loot to the troops overseas (they probably slip some toothbrushes and dental floss in there too…)
  6. EXPERIMENT – You don’t want to miss candy science experiments like The Incredible Growing Gummy Worm and Floating M’s and S’s. Check out the Candy Experiments website and book.
  7. BUILD a candy city – Why wait until December to start building a house of gingerbread?! Bite-size candy bars are like little edible LEGO blocks.


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My Summer Story 2014

Did anyone take the 21 Day Summer Challenge and squeeze in a few more summery experiences?

The summer countdown continues. 6 days until Fall officially arrives. I can feel it’s approach here in Pittsburgh where the air is getting crisper, the temperature cooler and sunset is arriving earlier and earlier.

My calendar insists that I say goodbye to the Summer of 2014 and so I’m reflecting back on my experiences and what a gift they’ve been.

cape cod beach landscape photo

I’m titling my summer story 2014:

The Gift of Time With Friends

A friend and I conquered our first destination half marathon.

Photo of Shannon and Lori after their half marathon

I found a gem in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania with a bed and breakfast on a working horse farm. Not only was it beautiful and relaxing, I also got to spend a weekend hiking and enjoying great food and drink with this hot guy.

Shannon and Andy in Laurel Highlands

And there were those summer evenings spent with great friends and some of my favorite bands.

Concert photo

There were many more pages to my summer story including time with family, the gift of a new niece, walks in the park and a few cold beers on hot afternoons.

What’s your summer’s story?

Tell us about it! Leave a comment or share it with us on Facebook or Instagram #mysummerstory2014.

The Gift of More Stories

And if your summer flew by like mine did, maybe you ran out of time for all of the experiences that you planned. Well don’t abandon those ‘not yet experiences’! If we fit them all in, what would we have to dream about? 🙂

We designed giftbug with your stories in mind. Tell your friends about them! What better way for them to celebrate you, thank you or just make you smile then by knowing about your list of ‘not yet experiences’?!

Check out my giftbug registry where I’ve created categories like The Gift of Time With Friends and Things I’ve Always Wanted to Do.

Celebrate National Grandparents Day with #grandparentbrag


National Grandparents Day is Sunday, September 7th and this year we’re celebrating with a little grandparent bragging!

Shannon brags about her Pappy

You’ve seen the dog shaming photos on email and social media. We’re turning this fun creation on its doggy ear and initiating some grandparent bragging.

Anna bragging about her grandma

Anna bragging about grandpa

Instead of tattling on our pooches, we’re celebrating National Grandparents Day by bragging about the traits, hobbies, interests or quirky habits that we inherited from our family.

Emma bragging about her lil Papa

Did you get your Irish eyes from Granny?

Do you have your Granddad’s laugh?

Do you share Nana’s love of horses?

Do you attribute your Steelers pride to your PapPap?

Shout it from the rooftops!

Snap a photo and tag your brag with #grandparentbrag.

Hannah brags about her Grandma

Emma brags about her Grandma

Britt brags about her Nana

Emma brags about her Nana

Emma brags about her Papa

Tag giftbug on Instagram Facebook or Twitter for a chance to have your #grandparentbrag featured on our blog!