My Secret Sister Package Has Arrived

Guess what arrived early Wednesday morning before I had the chance to shovel all the messy, heavy snow and rain?…my Secret Sister Package hosted by Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily.

My Secret Sister package arrived

As I looked through my front window, I could see my mailman carefully trudging through  the unshovelled snow in our driveway…up the snow-covered path to our front door…to deliver my special gift from my Secret Sister Cindy@Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard.

It really did seem like Christmas came early…especially since the box was all ‘decked out’ with a Christmas theme.

Inside were a collection of goodies my Secret Sister selected especially for me.

A collection of goodies inside my Secret Sister package

A couple of tea towels…one being my favourite colour red and the other with red flowers, dark chocolate…Mmmm 71% cacao, a package of Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea to enjoy with my chocolate…a cute special tin was tucked inside the box, my very own ‘Mom’s Cafe’ magnet, Neutrogena Dry-Touch SunScreen…I love this for my face in the summer, a ‘well-healed’ pie server and my ultimate favourite item in the box had to be…these adorable salt and pepper bunnies in their very own basket.

Adorable salt and pepper bunnies in their own basket

Oh my gosh…I love them!

Receiving my Secret Sister gift so early had me in a bit of a panic…until I realized I do have until March 15th to mail my Secret Sister gift. My Secret Sister will just have to wait a bit longer…I still have some knitting to do!

Who is my Secret Sister?  I think part of the fun is trying to figure out one’s Secret Sister.

Here are a few clues from what I have learned about my Secret Sister from the questionnaire Carla had all the Secret Sisters fill out and from checking out her blog.

My Secret Sister enjoys tea and cookies, takes her dog for walks, lives out of province, and loves chocolate…well, who doesn’t love chocolate!

If you are participating in Carla’s Secret Sister Swaplet me know if you think you may be my Secret Sister.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been perusing through the piles of magazines that have been collecting in various corners of my house…tearing out recipes that I hope to adapt.

One such recipe that caught my eye was in the July/August 2012 issue of Eating Well Magazine.

A plate of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bev’s Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe was the winner of Best Cookies…after reading over the recipe…I just had to adapt them. Click here for the original recipe.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Whole-Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

A plate of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yum is all I can say about these crunchy little gems!

Their taste reminds me of a chocolate covered digestive…one of my favourite store-bought cookies my mom would purchase for special occasions.

Matthew was very taken with them…he polished off three of them in one sitting.


I substituted 1/4 cup of Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks (for a soy free version use Earth Balance Soy Free Natural Buttery Spread) for the butter.
I substituted 1/2 tsp of baking soda and 2 tbsp of water for the egg. Just increase the baking soda in the original recipe to 1 tsp and add the water when the egg is added in the original recipe.
 I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips


Enjoying a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

P.S. I am thinking… Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Whole-Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies will be the perfect cookies to send to my Secret Sister. Lovely with a cup of tea to warm up after a brisk walk with her dog. I have signed up for Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily’s Spring Secret Sister Swap.

I will be posting my package to my Secret Sister in the coming month…watch out for it!

My Secret Sister Gift Has Arrived

Carla @My 1/2 Dozen Daily, hosted a Secret Sister Swapon Wednesday, I was very excited to receive my Secret Sister Gift.

My Secret Sister parcel has arrived, 2012

This was one well taped box! (I covered up my address with the labeled recipe card)

Inside, I discovered colourful packages sealed with beautifully patterned washi tape.

Secret Sister packages inside box

The washi tape alone should have clued me in to my Secret Sister…I had recently learned  of a Secret Sister ‘washi tape lover’.

I knew it…my Secret Sister was none other than Virna @craftmates…my very own Secret Sister I was assigned to by Carla! Click here for Virna’s reveal of her Secret Sister package from me.

I meticulously peeled back each an every piece of washi tape…careful not to tear the paper bags or tissue. Underneath all the pretty paper and washi tape were all sorts of treasures.

Opened packages from Secret Sister

Magazines with recipes to adapt, red and white tea towels and a red owl coin purse to satisfy my love of ‘all things red’, a ‘kitchen inspired’ key fab, a gorgeous handmade grocery tote and reusable snack bag, handmade tags, notepad and kitchen themed calendar, and to top it off, Virna sent me an adorable elephant pendant. Matthew spied the bejeweled elephant right away…he loves everything to do with elephants!

To tell you the truth…I was blown away!

The wonderful tote bag and snack bag were hand sewn by Virna herself.

Handmade tote bag and snack bag by Virna @craftmates

Love it!

The ribbon was inscribed with ‘Made by Virna’.

Ribbon inscribed with 'Made by Virna' from craftmates

The calendar, notepad and stunning tags were handmade by Virna’s fellow craftmate…Irma.

Handmade kitchen notepad, tags and kitchen themed calendar by Irma @craftmates

The tags are frame worthy!

Thank you…thank you…thank you! The time and effort you dedicated to putting this incredible Secret Sister package together is greatly appreciated!

P.S. These ladies are super talented! Craftmates will be attending their first craft fair this weekend, November 10 and 11th 2012, in Milton, Ontario. If you live in the surrounding area I would definitely try to swing on by. Click here for further details.

P.P.S. You may be wondering what I did with all that nice washi tape…

Beautiful paper bags and 'saved' washi tape

…I couldn’t just throw it away! Needless to say…I think I am now a washi tape lover myself!

Have you participated in a Secret Sister Swap before?

An Update On My Secret Sister Swap

I was relieved to hear that the package I sent to my Secret Sister arrived safe and sound! I can now reveal her to you…Virna @ craftmates.

She has just posted about the package I sent her for the Secret Sister Swap that was hosted by Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily. Click here to view.

Thankfully, Virna posted pictures of all the gifts…unfortunately, in the rush to get the package off, I accidentally deleted all the pictures I had taken of the gifts from my camera. 😦

I focused Virna’s gifts on her love of everything to do with sewing, the 70’s and chocolate…she loved the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookies! Click here for the adapted recipe.

For the 70’s aspect, I found a funky 70’s mug and put together 6 mini packages of individual cacao mixes…2 tbsp of Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sugar and 1 tbsp of Mum’s Original Organic Cacao Powder…along with a recipe for her to enjoy. All she has to do is mix 1 tbsp of milk or milk substitute with the cacao mix, add 1 cup of hot milk or milk substitute, stir and enjoy!

Michael enjoys his hot cacao made with soy milk!

I also discovered, in one of my decluttering phases, stationary from when I was a child. Would you believe I still had a letter and envelope set with the ‘Brownie Owl’ at the top of the page! I couldn’t resist using it to write a letter to Virna explaining all the items in her Secret Sister package. 

For Virna’s love of everything to do with sewing, I revamped a tomato pin cushion following the directions from Tara @ Sew Tara. Click here for her DIY tutorial. My neighbour, Joanna @ That Thing I Made, had the perfect 70’s material for the job…she even threw in some bamboo bag handles for me to give to Virna.

The bamboo handles had me off on the hunt for a pattern and material. I tried to stay as close to Virna’s favourite colours of mustard, olive-green and turquoise as possible…while keeping that 70’s vibe. I was so pleased when I found, what I considered, the perfect material on the clearance rack at Fabricland …the lovely ladies swinging bags with olive-green and turquoise polka dots! There was just enough material for the budget friendly pattern…yeah!

I love to bake! I believe the quality of one’s ingredients = the quality of the product.

With that in mind, I put together a little bottle of pure vanilla…I split one vanilla bean and added it to 1/2 cup of vodka. The mixture will need to rest for at least a month.

All in all, I truly enjoyed my quest to put together a fun, creative budget friendly package for around $20. 

A thank you, once again to Carla @My 1/2 Dozen Daily for hosting the event.

P.S. If you live in and around the Milton area, you might be interested in the first craft show that Virna and her other friends @ craftmates will be attending on the weekend of November 10 and 11th 2012. Click here for more information.