Party Planning Review & Giveaway

“Who doesn’t love a party? ask Kate Patno, owner of From You Know Whoo. Kate has loved parties and party planning all of her life, and opened her party planning and prepping business just over a year ago.


What does Kate do? I’ll let her tell you:

“From You Know Whoo designs parties just for you.   You choose the theme or color scheme for your event, and I do the rest.  I create custom invitations (and coordinated thank you notes!), decorations, and party favors and include all the paper products as well.  They all get packaged into a box, and delivered right to your doorstep.   I try to utilize unique products and high quality materials to ensure the items for your event are durable and fun!”

I was lucky enough to work with Kate this Spring in preparation of my daughter’s 4th birthday party. My birthday girl requested a pink ballerina party. I gave Kate this information along with a few party details and she came back to me with an amazing party plan!

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You can see that Kate is throughout in her planning and thinks of every last detail from start to finish. She will pack up the decorations, party favors, paper products (and more) and deliver it right to your doorstep! She is also available to help set up!

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Here is the great invitation that Kate made for us, as well as the ballerina theme wreath, which now is a great bedroom decoration.


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So how do you start? Contact Kate with your theme or color scheme and let her take care of the rest. She says that her favorite part of her job is: “help[ing] customers create an event that is both as special and unique as they are!  It’s fun and exciting to share in their special occasions and to get to know people during such happy times in their lives!”

Here are a few recent customer reviews:

~Love how I could decorate Kenzie’s room after her Spa party!!! Thank you Miss Kate!!!

~Just got my two very jam packed boxes!!! So excited to see what’s inside!!!! Thank you Kate Patno, you are going to make one very happy little girl!

~From You Know Whoo to the rescue! Kate is not only friendly and easy to talk to, she’s amazingly creative.  She put on display what I can barely articulate into words and she did it with amazing grace and time restrictions.  Everything for our ‘pirate party’ was perfectly organized and tailored for our son…he said: “this was the best birthday party ever, mom!”

~ I love how we could repurpose decorations from my baby shower in my son’s nursery.   From the mobile to the banner….everything was perfectly coordinated and have that extra special look we wanted.



How did the ballerina birthday party turn out? Perfect! Thanks in part to From You Know Whoo!

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Use the following code to get 10% off the purchase of a party pack valued $150 or more.  Code: TVFLOVES2PARTY Expiration: August 1, 2015



ENTER HERE to win a custom gift From You Know Whoo: a Rafflecopter giveaway Earn extra entries in this giveaway by visiting and LIKING Kate’s Facebook page!


Party on!

Rolled Oats Giveaway: Roger’s Farmstead


Roger’s Farmstead is located on Berlin, VT and is producing a variety of products that I consider everyday must-haves: dairy, grains, meats. Farm owners Nate and Jessie Rogers, along with their young son, are passionate about bringing healthy and quality food to their community and beyond.


Nate and Jessie sent me a bag of their Rolled Oats. I was eager to try them and asked them to share their favorite recipe.

Here is the recipe that Jesse shared with me:


3 cups Rogers Farmstead rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar (plus additional)
1/2 cup butter or margarine 
2 eggs
2 cups milk, any kind
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (optional)
2 tea baking powder
1 tea salt
2 tea vanilla extract
1 tea cinnamon
1/4 tea nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375. Melt butter, add eggs and milk and whisk together. Add all ingredients, mix and let stand for 5 minutes. Pour into a 13” x 9” buttered or sprayed baking dish and sprinkle with a little brown sugar.
Bake for 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.  Serve with dried fruit, nuts, honey, maple syrup, mini chocolate chips or whatever treats you like.
This was delicious! I substituted maple syrup for the brown sugar and did not add the flaxseed. I topped with blueberries and enjoyed a hearty, warm, sweet breakfast (and later a lunch!). This is a recipe that I will use again and again, with more rolled oats from Roger’s Farmstead.


I shared the oats with my friend Lauren who turned them into amazing cookies! The oats provided a chewy and rich base for the raisins and chocolate chips that Lauren added. Here’s Lauren’s recipe:

Recipe (adapted from america’s test kitchen)

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2tsp table salt
1/2 tsp bkng pwdr
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2sticks softened butter
1cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2lg eggs
2 cups old fashioned oats
1cup raisins
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Oven to 350
Line sheets with parchment
Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in bowl ; set aside
In stand mixer, beat butter and sugars til light and fluffy, add eggs (1 at a time) mix til combined, 30 seconds.
Decrease speed to low, add dry ingredients mix til just combined.
Hand stir in raisins and chips.
Drop by heaping teaspoons onto prepared sheet.
Roll into balls.
Bake 18-22 minutes, rotating and switching sheets halfway through cooking.
Cool on sheets 2 minutes, then remove to racks.

“The flavor was more earthy texture more hearty than the dry oats you buy at the store. That made the cookies tender and delicious!” -Lauren

Visit Roger’s Farmstead online to learn and see more of the growing grain process.
You can find Roger’s Farmstead Oats/Flour/Pancake mix at Pete’s Greens in Waterbury, the Farm Store in Jeffersonville, The Falls General Store in Northfield Falls, Oats/Flour at Chef’s Market in Randolph. You can also access them directly at the Montpelier and Rutland Farmers markets, or visit them at the farm itself.
CLICK HERE to win a bag of Rolled Oats: a Rafflecopter giveaway
Happy baking/making!

Mother’s Day Giveaway

My beautiful Mom, Memere, and daughter.

My beautiful Mom, Memere, and daughter.

My Mom and I snowshoeing this winter, with my mini-me on my back.

My Mom and I snowshoeing this winter, with my mini-me on my back.

We love MAINE and long for more time at the ocean.

We love MAINE and long for more time at the ocean.

We are really good at silly selfies!




To me, everyday is Mother’s Day. I am beyond blessed with two healthy, silly, amazing children. I am blessed to have a mother, Nonna to my children, who always puts others first and spends time taking care of so many (including her 13 grandchildren). I have wonderful mothers all around me. My sisters, my family, my dear friends. Let’s celebrate all mothers with a great new giveaway!



The VERY lucky Mom who wins this giveaway will win the following gifts (officially enter at the bottom of this page):


A personalized Family Circle Charm from Alloy Jewelry. Learn more about Alloy Jewelry and visit their website to see their all of their beautiful pieces! My favorite piece is the Sterling Cuff.



A dozen mini traditional Whoopie pies with pink hearts from Time Out For Whoopie. Learn more about Time Out For Whoopie and their perfect sweet treats ~ might I suggest a few of my favorites: coconut, cherry, maple. Ok, I love them all!



A set of 10 Shell note cards and matching personalized Shell return address labels from Pen to Paper Designs. Learn more about Pen to Paper Designs and view their fun, whimsical cards and more! My mom and I share a love for the ocean and I know she would love this Shell set. I know another special Mom who would love the Elephant cards.



A Caramel Sampler (sea salt, chocolate sea salt, pecan, and original) from Red Kite Candy. Learn more about Red Kite Candy and where you can find their amazing melt-in-your-mouth candy!

A trio of popcorn gift packs – Herbaceous Blend, Maple Kettle Bliss, and Lemon Confection – from Karen’s Artisan Popcorn. Learn more about Karen’s unique and mouthwatering popcorn confections. Sign your mom up for the Popcorn of the Month Club or send her ready to pop corn kernels and Karen’s signature Herbaceous Blend popcorn topping.



A lovely handmade necklace on red silk with highlights of fresh water pearls, turquoise and quartz from the JewelryOs® collection at The Family Place. Learn more about The Family Place and how the JewelryOs® program directly benefits young Vermont families living in poverty. Each piece of work is individually created by a young parent who is participating in the Families Learning Together program.



Credit: Mae Memories Photography


Here is one of my favorite quotes:

“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.” ~Donna Ball


From my family to yours: HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

*** CLICK HERE to enter this giveaway —-> a Rafflecopter giveaway



Peace, love & happiness,

Mother’s Day Giveaway from New England Sack

BANNER MOTHERSDAY Happy Mother’s Day from New England Sack! They are back to host another giveaway and to share a valuable coupon code.   This special Mother’s Day box includes gifts from Vermont Natural Whipping Queen and Vermont Hot Glass. logo image_718aa7bb-b269-403c-a077-1223dac24b6a_large   shapeimage_1 Collage 3 Banner There will be additional gifts from our neighbors in Connecticut (Goatboy Soaps) and New Hampshire (Wonderful Life Farm). A 5th item has not been announced yet. Be sure to follow New England Sack on Facebook for hints and announcements! Take a look at past boxes from New England Sack: What-Was-Holiday-Sack November-Box-of-Gratitude-575x1024 Our favorite ~ The Vermont Box! 11074547_10203898917969393_5934986382622036867_n Sign your mother up for a 3 or 6 month subscription and each month she will receive a box filled with unique items from all over New England. Tasty treats, art work, specialty food items and more! Use the code MOTHERS5 and get $5.00 off any length subscription! It’s the gift that keeps on giving!   New-England-Sack-Logo1 We all have a long list of deserving moms. Moms who we want to give the world to. Our own moms, our sisters, our friends, our mentor moms. Show your love, support, appreciation with a gift of amazing New England products! We are giving away a Mother’s Day Box! Simply click and ENTER HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway   Happy Mother’s Day! ~Honi

Perfume Giveaway

Katy Knuth and Beckie Sheloske launched Rebel Intuitive Perfumerie last November and continue to grow their business. Each perfume is made by hand, in small batches, and aged at least six months to let the different notes marry together.




Grace at 67th blends Tarragon, Sweet Basil, Clary Sage, Rose and more. It’s earthy and mild.




The Winter Lewd perfume is a citrus blend which includes blood orange, tangerine, and black currant. “Winter Lewd is a fantastical, esoteric, unisex perfume that begins with top notes that are like uncovering  peels and branches of citrus from the damp earth. Experience the mysterious awareness that is Winter Lewd.” (From the RI website.)


Ninon is a complex and deep perfume with a vanilla, honey, jasmine notes (and more!).

You can find these products online and at Salaam Boutique in downtown Montpelier. Ask for them at boutiques and specialty stores near you.

Rebel Intuitive Perfumerie would like to send you a bottle of their projected best seller for Spring: Grace at 67.


ENTER HERE to win this giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Garden Mats Giveaway


Tis the season!

Spring? Yes, finally.

Mud season? Yes, for awhile longer.

Planting season? YES!


When do you start planting? We start at the beginning of March. Peppers and tomatoes are planted first, and they sit in the sunniest spot in the house. Then we look forward to the day we can transfer them to the garden.

Last year we learned of Garden Mats, located in Central VT. Owner Peter Comart started this business as a way to solve a problem: he hated to weed the garden. We can relate! Our summer days are filled and there is a little time left to weed the garden. It’s even hard to convince our eager helper children to go pull weeds.


Garden Mats are made from polypropylene. They are made to let in air and water, but to block sunlight and weeds. The pre-cut holes have been cauterized to prevent fraying, allowing these mats to last for many years. With eight different spacing options you are sure to find something for everything growing in your garden.




We moved our tomatoes into the garden last May, and found the Garden Mats the perfect convenience. The mats were easy to set up, easy to use, and also easy to put away and store at the end of the season.


Here is more information from Peter about Garden Mats: “We designed Garden Mats to reduce the time you spend working in the garden and increase your garden’s productivity by 10%-20%.” Find more great reasons to use Garden Mats here.

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Our garden thrived this year and our tomatoes were extra large, juicy and sweet. We look forward to our next garden season, and the ease of planting thanks to Garden Mats.


Visit Garden Mats online to learn more, to make an order, or to contact Peter in regards to commercial planting. Head to Worcester any Saturday March – June to find Spring Sale prices.

Peter will send one lucky winner TWO garden mats. Simply CLICK and ENTER HERE –> a Rafflecopter giveaway


Happy gardening!

Mill Brook Naturals Giveaway


Kathy Johnston, owner of Mill Brook Naturals, has been researching and testing products for years. She started with laundry soap, and then added gardeners soap, bath bombs, bar soap, lotion sticks and more!

Kathy has a goal of making items “that are natural, good for you and are good for the environment”.


A group of trusted friends helped me to test these items and here are their thoughts:


“Nice scents that are not overwhelming and would make a sweet gift for a new baby.” ~Lisa



“I loved how well this soap lathered and how natural and authentic the scent is. I usually have a hard time finding either of these qualities in a natural soap, let alone both!” ~Hannah


“This is super easy to use and apply. Once it is on, it really feels like it locks in the moisture. My hands stayed smooth all day, even through hand washings! That is saying a lot considering my knuckles crack in the winter! ~Hannah

“My girls loved the bath bomb.  This was the first time we ever tried a bath bomb and they loved watch in it dissolve while soaking in the tub. The room smelled of lavender all evening.  It was lovely.” ~Emily
“I LOVE all things pine scented and this soap did not disappoint.  The scent smelled very natural and just like our Christmas tree.  The soap itself was great in the shower for full body but would also be lovely as a hand soap!” ~Kelly
This Gardeners Hand Soap is a summer must-have. Kathy tells us about her inspiration for this product: ” I love to garden and have a potting shed my husband and 3 boys built for me a few years ago so I thought why not a gardeners soap? I hand mill an all natural soap and add beeswax ,pure olive oil and pumice to get hands clean but not too  abrasive”
Our family has benefited from the Gardeners Soap soap too. It’s both effective at removing caked on dirt and grime, as well has very gentle on hands.
My four year old was very excited to receive this beautiful heart shaped soap. As soon as I was done photographing it she had taken it and put it in her bath. My daughter’s skin is very sensitive and I always search for mild soaps for her. This soap has worked perfectly! It’s all natural ingredients clean as well has keep her skin soft. The soap has lasted through many baths too!
I have been happy to use this Lemon Honey Soap. It’s made with shea butter, goats milk, locally made honey and more. It’s a sweet smelling really great bar of soap. It’s as simple as that. Use it and feel clean, naturally!
Now it’s time for YOU to try these great products from Mill Brook Naturals!
ENTER HERE to WIN a gift pack from Mill Brook Naturals –>

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

BIG Blog 3rd Birthday BASH Giveaway

Try Vermont First is officially THREE years old! In the last three years we have introduced you to hundreds of Vermont businesses, entrepreneurs, artists, authors, and more. We have given away hundreds of items worth thousands of dollars! We are not slowing down yet!

My goal has not changed: to find great Vermont products and services, to share them with you, and encourage you to shop locally and keep your money in our great state.


It thrills me so much to have friends, family, and strangers tell me that they have sought a Vermont made product because they’ve learned about it here on Try Vermont First. THANK you and you and YOU for reading each post, sharing each post, and entering each giveaway. The ripple effect takes this blog, and our support for Vermont businesses far and wide.

In 2015 we will host many more giveaways including a weekly fan giveaway on our Facebook page. We are on Instagram now too! We look forward to hosting ShopVT again with the Burlington VT Mom’s Blog in November.

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Now… are you ready to learn about the many amazing birthday gifts we have for YOU? Enter below to win our Big Blog Birthday Bash Giveaway, which will feature gifts from the following companies. Note that your gift may or may not be the same as the one pictured below and may or may not include gifts from each of the following companies.



Time Out For Whoopie WIN a 6 pack of Large traditional Whoopie pies.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Ariel’s Honey WIN a 10oz jar of honey.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook & Pinterest. To WIN enter below.


Alaina’s Mosaics WIN a copy of Alaina’s book ABC Animals and a gift pack of 5 cards.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Chunky Love Boutique WIN a soft and cuddly lovey blanket.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Capitol Cupcakes WIN a small care package including fudge, caramels and frosted sugar cookies.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.



Marsh Hollow Jams WIN a jar of delicious jam made in Vermont.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Cat Illustrates WIN six cards with this beautiful Vermont art.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Kat’s Paws WIN two mini fabric wallets.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.



Tiny Gang Cards WIN a set of fun and silly cards.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.



Cure For The Bad Hair Day WIN a gift pack of hair ties.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.

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Chickens A-Z WIN a copy of this fun and informational book.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Best of Vermont WIN a $25 gift card and enjoy shopping.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Two Guys in Vermont Soup WIN  two jars of Chunky Garden Tomato soup and a Two Guys soup mug.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook & Twitter. To WIN enter below.


Vermont Village Applesauce WIN a gift from Vermont Village Applesauce.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.



Blake Hill Preserves  WIN a jar of their NEW Extra Fruit / Reduced Sugar​ Raspberry & Hibiscus Preserve.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Nutty Steph’s WIN  melt-in-your-mouth Salted Caramel bars.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook & Twitter. To WIN enter below.


Green Mountain Mini Baked WIN a dozen mini donuts.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook & Twitter. To WIN enter below.


Happy Birthday to US, but Happy Gifting to YOU! What great gifts we have collected!

We ask that you visit and LIKE these businesses and artists on Facebook and follow them on Twitter! Leave us a blog comment and SHARE this giveaway on social media.

*** ENTER HERE to WIN this giveaway —–> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cheers to the year ahead,




The Little Rippers: Book Giveaway


As soon as she started to walk, author Becky Munsterer learned how to ski. Her own passion for skiing, and the passion of the young children she sees in lessons, and flying down the mountain inspired her to write The Little Rippers.


Since Becky’s own nephews are little rippers, they helped to influence the creation of the characters in this book.
The book is set at fictional Powderhound Mountain in Vermont. The two main characters, Max and his sister Molly, are visiting their grandfather and looking forward to their annual ski trip to the mountain. Both kids are surprised to learn that because of an injury their grandfather won’t be able to ski with them this year, and he has signed them up for the mountain’s ski program.


The shy children end up going on a great adventure during their ski lesson. They show both bravery and compassion. The story is motivating and fun to read.

I read this book to my six year old son and one of his friends. We ended up reading the book in one day because they would not let me put it down. At the end of each chapter they would beg me to read “just one more!”. There were happy cheers for the characters when we finished the story.
I shared the book with my ten year old niece and her comments were: “It was an adventure! It was a book I couldn’t take my eyes off of.”



Becky has included Vermont traditions and touches in her story. The children enjoy Sugar on Snow, a great spring sweet and there are family recipes at the end of the book. When I asked Becky what she wanted my readers to know she said: ” I’m thrilled when real Vermont little rippers enjoy the book!”.


Now you can win a copy of The Little Rippers AND more! ENTER HERE —-> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find The Little Rippers at a bookstore near you or online! Have fun reading and sharing this story!

Ski on!

New England Sack Giveaway



Jennifer Halpin, owner of New England Sack, contacted me a few weeks ago about collaborating to promote her business, which is currently showcasing Vermont made products. You can view my guest blog post here.

Jennifer seeks the highest quality products made in New England and will deliver these right to your doorstep via a monthly subscription. With your monthly subscription you are supporting your extended local economy and appreciating fine craftsmanship.


1429_092514_The_Sack_©Pam Rouleau Photography

A gift from New England Sack will be well received no matter where you send it! Send it near, send it far. Send it once, send it for 6 months. Send it as a thank you, a birthday gift, a housewarming gift, with congratulations, welcoming a new baby! Check out this page where you can create your own custom gift box!



Please visit New England Sack’s blog page and read more about how Try Vermont First started.

Would you like to know what’s in the March Vermont Sack? I may know what’s in the box, but am keeping it a secret! Here’s a way to find out: WIN IT! That’s right, Jennifer is going to send one lucky reader a Vermont box this month! I will give you one hint as to what’s in the box….. it’s a product that inspired me to start Try Vermont First.

ENTER HERE to win —-> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note this great coupon code just for Try Vermont First fans – enter Vermont5 to receive $5.00 off any length subscription, including a one month! Leave a note in the comments of the New England Sack check out page if you’d like to order a Vermont box. More and new Vermont products will be featured in coming months.

Like New England Sack on Facebook and learn more about their services and products!

Shop local!