The Olive Table Giveaway



Dianne Hinaris contacted me a few months ago to see if I was interested in learning more about her family business: The Olive Table. The Olive Table is located in Woodstock and opened just three and half years ago. I asked Dianne who/what inspired her to create this business and this is what she shared:

“I wanted a career change – my interest in financial services had waned over the previous years and I really wanted to do something I was interested in and passionate about; and 2) I had these amazing healthy, all natural products available from my husband’s family in Greece just waiting to be introduced to the US market.  A couple of years before I started The Olive Table, we had started sharing our extra virgin olive oil with friends, and the reaction was unanimous:  “This oil is amazing – you should be selling it here in the States!”  I think a lot of people here in the States buy their oils in the supermarket and have never had fresh, high quality olive oil so once they taste it, there’s no going back.”


I love a great family business story! You can click here to learn more about how Dianne had more oil than she could ever use!


Olive oil is for so much more than cooking with! It’s to be paired well and enjoyed often! My seven year old son would just as happily dip bread into olive oil than eat anything else. I use oil daily for homemade dressings on salads. Even just a simple oil, garlic and black pepper sits nicely on a salad.


We were also sent a jar of this fine Greek honey. The honey is all natural, raw, and perfectly sweet. The Olive Table has four unique varieties of honey: Fir of Vytina, Pine, Reiki (Mediterranean Heather) and Orange Blossom. The jar of Pine Honey that we received is incredible. It has such a deep and different honey flavor. I find myself needing a sample often!   My husband loves honey in his coffee. Every morning I first hear the coffee maker and then hear our two children begging for “just a taste” of honey. Then spoons come out and I am happy everyone’s had their daily dose of the beneficial enzymes found in honey.



You can find products from The Olive Table  in many Vermont specialty shops and markets as well as many others states. All of their products, including lovely gift boxes, can be purchased online.




The Olive Table wants to share their products with YOU! They will send one winner one bottle of their top quality olive oil and one jar of their amazing honey.


ENTER HERE to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Remember to shop local, shop Vermont, and support our neighbors!


Good luck


Grosbeak Gardens Soap & Candle Giveaway


In 2013 Stephen D’Agostino and Bill Bakkerfrom Grosbeak Gardens decided to take their passion for handmade candles and turn it into a business. Their own garden gives them inspiration for their candles and soaps.


Grosbeak Gardens has a great variety of handmade soaps. Scents range frm Blackberry, Pumpkin, Macintosh, Maple, and Rosemary. Soaps are made with moisturizing shea butter and olive oil. Each soap is made to lather and clean well. You won’t find unnecessary additives or colors.

I have developed a love for locally made soaps. I want to know what’s in my soap and going on my skin. I can appreciate the work that went into making a soap with the perfect blend of oils and ingredients.



Grosbeak’s best seller is their maple candle. They are personally proud of their seasonal specialty candles: Gardener’s Spring, Summer Farm Stand, Country Autumn, and Winter Spice.

Stephen sent me their Winter Spice candle and we’ve burned it everyday for weeks! It helps to mask the smell of compost, puppy, and small children, while being just fragrant enough to not overpower the whole house. The candle has burned evenly and cleanly. I love it and will soon be ordering another.

Grosbeak Garden’s soaps and candles would make wonderful gifts for anyone and everyone on your list!


When I asked Stephen what he wanted readers to know he said: “Being new to Vermont, Grosbeak Gardens has been a wonderful way to meet so many people who share our appreciation for a quality, Vermont-made products. We are grateful for the support we get and so happy to be closing in on our first year anniversary of being Vermont residents.”



You can purchase Grosbeak Garden’s products online and at local craft fairs and markets including the indoor Farmer’s Market in South Burlington on December 6th and 13th. Visit them this weekend and let them know we sent you!

It’s time to start shopping! Enter to win a $20 gift card to Grosbeak Gardens!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Happy Holidays,



Thank you to everyone who entered and shared our ShopVT2015 giveaways!


Here is a list of our lucky winners:


Gifts For Kids – Zutano: Heather Farmer 

Gifts For Kids – Danish Woolens & Hayley’s Custom Embroidery: Marie Walk

Gifts of Art – Luann Bailey Photography: Megan Mitchell 

Gifts of Art– VT Honey Lights & Burlington Paint and Sip: Jemima Talbot

Gifts to Send – VT Juice Co & Cheese Traders: Maggie Turner Van Duyn

Gifts to Send -CLOV & Green Mtn Mini Baked: Luann Bailey

Gifts for Dinning Out – New Moon Cafe: Samantha Bate

Gifts for Dinning Out – Skinny Pancake: Natalie

Gifts to Stay Active – Bolton Valley & Skida: Jessica Stehmeyer 

Gifts for the Bookworm – Basil and Prune the Pug & Bridgeside Books: Kara Woodard 

Gifts for the Bookworm -The Little Rippers: Brooke Cote 

Gifts for Her – La Bella Derma: Andrea Kirby 

Gifts for Her – Sempiira & Over The Moon: Juliana Taylor 

Gifts for Him – Wild Wood Vermont: Meredith Bay-Tyack 

Gifts for Him – Whistle Pig Whiskey & Vermont Beard Co: Tracie Barone 

Go Choose Your Gift – Community National Bank: Michelle Marchand 

Go Choose Your Gift – Local First Vermont: Erin Baslow 

Go Choose Your Gift – Gardener’s Supply & Trip Trap Recycling: Briana Howard 

Gifts for the Sweet Tooth – Burke Mountain Confectionery: Kat Salemno 

Gifts for the Sweet Tooth – VT Nut Free Chocolates & Time Out For Whoopie: Elizabeth Felcyn Dupont 

Gifts for Baby Wearing – Bitybean: Holly Marie 

Gifts for Baby Wearing – Poe Wovens: Kayla Barnhart Bergstrom 

Gifts for the Cook – Healthy Living: Samara Mercy

Gifts for the Cook – Kiss the Cook & Ariel’s Honey Infusions: Marcia Piper 

Gifts for the Cook – Edible Green Mtns & Gringo Jack’s: Sandra Stoll 

Gifts that Have Style – Alloy Jewelry & Vermont Clothing Co: Sarah Hebert 

Gifts for Family Fun – The Freighthouse: Randy Matusky 

Gifts for Family Fun – Mr. Chris & Wildflowers Studio: Carly Sumner 

Gifts for Getting Away – Safford Mills Inn: Shannon Lamb 

Gifts for Getting Away – Capitol Plaza Hotel: Katie Orost 

Congratulations!! Winners will be contacted this week!




Thank you again to the sponsors of ShopVT2015:

clov-e1446608241652 community1-e1446619571136 edible-green-e1446606202922

gardeners-e1446618045977 paintandsip-e1446303984445 vtclothing1-e1446434198291


Many of our participating businesses are offering YOU valuable coupons and codes through the holiday season and into the new year. Be sure to bookmark and visit our Coupons page.

Stay tuned for more great Vermont giveaways including twice weekly giveaways just for Facebook fans! Happy Holidays!


~Honi, Try Vermont First & Tara, Tasha, Josilyn, BurlingtonVT Mom’s Blog

Local First Vermont Buy Local Coupon Book Giveaway



Tis the season for SHOPPING! Have you started holiday shopping yet? I have and when I shop I keep a few things in mind: finding the most thoughtful/best gift, shopping locally and saving money! Today’s giveaway is all about saving money locally.


Local First Vermont works with over 170 businesses and has over 200 coupons totaling over $3000 in local savings!


Coupons are for select locally-owned stores in Addison, Chittenden and Washington counties.


What kind of coupons will you find? 20% off your purchase, buy one/get one offers, free desserts or items with purchase, and more!


Find coupons to Dakin Farms, Danforth, Cheese Traders, Gardener’s Supply Co, Kiss The Cook, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Capitol Stationers, Three Penny Taproom, Onion River Sports, Prohibition Pig, Zutano and more! Find the full list here.




We enjoyed taking a tour of Vermont book stores with our Local First Vermont coupon book! With such valuable coupons we were able to get a few extra books & gifts at each store.


Where can you get your book? You can find books up and down the state. Click here to see the list of distributors. Note that this great book retails for $18 and has over $3000 in savings! That’s a worthy investment!


As well you can purchase your coupon book through many school fundraisers. Here‘s a full list of participating schools.


Visit the Local First Vermont website and take a virtual tour of the book here.



Try Vermont First and Local First Vermont encourage you shop local and support Vermont businesses this holiday season (and always!). Look at this long list of special offers for Small Business Saturday on November 28th.


We are giving away three BUY LOCAL books plus a coupon clutch from Flashbags.


ENTER HERE to win ——->  Rafflecopter giveaway



Happy shopping,


November 11, 2015


Happy Veteran’s Day. This is a day to reflect, to appreciate, and to thank. Let us remember that we have a lifetime to give thanks, and we should give thanks daily. To our service men and women ~ one day is not enough! We thank you for your bravery, dedication and sacrifices. We also thank military families who are brave, dedicated and sacrifice so much.



I would like to connect my readers to VT SUPPORTS, a local non-profit dedicated to sending gift boxes and cards to troops overseas during the holiday season.


Here is more information from Nicquelle Timson, President of VT SUPPORTS: “We have a family event every year the first Saturday of December where we pack and send hundreds of care packages to troops serving on the front lines. How do we get these addresses you ask… well from our locals whether it be a son, daughter, nephew, niece, or friends cousin… some how they are tied to Vermont. We usually end up with 10-15 addresses and we will send about 50 packages to each soldier so they can disperse to their entire unit under their Christmas tree… that we also send with decorations and lights! On the day of the event there is a table for kids to make their own cards. Each person will grab an empty box and slide down the table and fill with all the gathered supplies ending with putting cards they made or already made ones, a letter from the board and CUSTOM FORMS GALORE! The project started in 2004 by an older lady at my church, however after my husband died in Iraq in 2009 I took over full steam. We have been hosting an actual event since 2011. After packing so many boxes on a kitchen floor, I thought it was time to let the community see how much fun it can be and giving them all the supplies to do it… we can pack 350 boxes in less than 3 hours!”


How can YOU help?

*Gather supplies to send. Coffee, trail mix, cookies, popcorn, toiletries, card games, sheets, socks, and more!

*Be part of packing day, Saturday December 5th from 9AM-noon.

*DONATE! It’s estimated that 400 boxes will cost over $6,300 to mail this year! Rally your friends, family, co-workers to each donate money to help cover this enormous cost!


Here are more details:


Here is a letter sent to VT SUPPORTS from a Vermont solider (who wishes to remain anonymous):

“I am writing to say thank you.  I cannot really express how much one of your boxes means to a soldier deployed overseas so I will share the story of when I first received boxes from VT S.U.P.P.O.R.T.S.  I am sure this is a similar story for all the final destinations of the packages.  

My first deployment was in 2011 to Afghanistan.  Most days were long and stressful.  There was one day, however, that something happened that was totally NOT expected.   I was not prepared for just how many boxes arrived for me that Christmas, at least 50, most likely many more but I lost count.  The look on everyone’s face when so many boxes arrived was amazing. Then to distribute the boxes and watch as all the soldiers tore through them was just as incredible.  It really was like Christmas, one I will never forget.  I owe that to you.  For a few hours we forgot we were at war and lived in a combat zone.  We didn’t care that it was month 8 and we had not had a day off.  We were not worried about what was going to happen that day or the next.  You allowed us that brief respite.   

When Soldiers receive packages, everyone gathers together and opens them to see what someone got, more importantly what they will share.  For some it can be a sad time because they do not have a support structure back home and mail is few and far between.  Not that day.  Everyone I worked with got at least two boxes.  Mail call typically lasts a few minutes; this one lasted a few hours.  The boost in morale for the troops was incredible. I wish you could have seen the faces and heard the laughter of the Soldiers.  I will never forget that Christmas as long as I live and I owe you all a debt of gratitude.   

In closing, I want to insure that all of you know just how meaningful and appreciated your commitment to deployed troops is. That few hours of time you donate on a weekend can mean more to a deployed soldier than you will ever know.  Once again thank you, thank you so much for what you do for us.  I look forward to this year when I can pass out your boxes to the troops.”


Please contact Nicquelle for more details on how you, your business, your church, your school, your workplace can HELP VT SUPPORTS.

With endless thanks,




ShopVT2015: Your Shop Vermont Guide plus Giveaways!



It’s beginning to feel a lot like the holidays!


ShopVT is back for the third year to showcase amazing Vermont products, services, art work, jewelry, sweets, books, adventures, and more! We are once again collaborating with the Burlington VT Mom’s Blog. Together we have 30+ giveaways to share with you, from 45+ local businesses! You will also find dozens of coupon codes designed just for this event.


We believe that it’s important to spend our holiday shopping dollars in our great state. There are fabulous products being made, there are wonderful stores and restaurants to visit, and we want to support our neighbors and our state. Within our fifteen categories you are sure to find a gift, or two or three, for each person you are buying for. You are likely to find items to add to your own wish list too!

I would like to thank the sponsors of ShopVT2015: Edible Green Mountains, Creative Labels of Vermont, Community National Bank, Gardener’s Supply Company, Vermont Clothing Company, Burlington Paint and Sip. Thank you for your commitment to Vermont businesses and bloggers!


Not in Vermont? Don’t worry… you can still win many of our great giveaways! We know that love for Vermont spreads far and wide.


Without further ado… please enjoy Shop VT 2015!


Best, best, best!


Zoe Tilley Poster Art Giveaway


This summer I met Zoe Tilley Poster at that Waterbury Arts Festival. I was quickly drawn to her drawings and wanted to learn more about her art. The characters she creates seem as though they have a story to tell.


I asked Zoe about her artistic process and she shared this: “I love animals. I like drawing them, and seeing their characters emerge on paper. When I get one just right… it’s like shaking paws with an old friend. When I get one just wrong… I wad up that piece of paper, toss it over my shoulder, and begin again.”


Zoe works with graphite and colored pencil on vellum-surface Bristol paper (which she taught me provides the texture to the drawings).


Though cats are her favorite animal to draw Zoe tells us about her most popular character: “..the most popular is this little woodchuck holding a bunch of chamomile. He looks both cute and… antagonistic. Vermonters love woodchucks, but they won’t admit it – they’ll curse and shake their fists and make threats about crock pot stew. Any gardener knows the angst a woodchuck can inspire. But, you know… they’re kind of comical too.”


Zoe not only creates cards and prints but also custom orders including pet portraits, logos, wedding invitations, imagined landscapes. Visit her Etsy shop to see the full range of her work. The butterfly prints are some of my favorites. I love that this art work can be for any generation, for art lovers young and old.


Start shopping for art prints, cards and t-shirts at and contact Zoe at for custom orders!

Giveaway time! We will choose 2 lucky winners who will each receive a pack of 6 note cards with Zoe Tilley Poster artwork.

ENTER HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck!





Choose Your Own Adventure Books Giveaway

My children LOVE to read. They love to be read to. They love to get new books at the library, to complete a reading challenge, and they really love the Choose Your Own Adventure Books published by Chooseco LLC in Waitsfield, VT.



There are 15 Vermont authors and artists including the late R. A. Montgomery who created the Choose Your Own Adventure series over 30 years ago. Read more about the history of Choose Your Own Adventures here.


R.A. Montgomery










There are over 70 Choose Your Own Adventure titles, and there are more currently being worked on! Also look for Choose Your Own Nightmare. My children enjoyed the younger reader set pictured above.


A few pages into each story the reader is asked to choose what the main character (YOU – the reader) would do next. There might be 9, 12 or even up to 40 different endings. Children can re-read the story over and over again and be reading a completely different story each time. It’s fun for children to have control of the story’s outcome. When I read these stories to my children they often wanted to take different paths so we read each book many times.


These classics: The Abominable Snowman and Journey Under The Sea were both written by R. A. Montgomery in the 1980’s. These books started it all!


I asked Elizabeth Adelman from Chooseco where my readers can purchase these interactive books and she shared this: “We are carried at many local independent stores throughout the state and we always encourage people interested in purchasing Choose Your Own Adventure to “shop local.”  Our own “local” store is the terrific Bridgeside Books in Waterbury, VT. When we send a writer on tour, we always try to have an author signing at Bridgeside.  We also ship web orders placed at promptly and they should usually reach Vermont customers in just a couple of days.”


Chooseco is hosting an extra generous giveaway! In addition to sending a book set to TWO winners each winner will also be able to choose a local school to receive a book set! Win Win!

Enter here —–> a Rafflecopter giveaway


Keep reading readers,


Safford Mills Inn Giveaway



The Safford Mills Inn and Cafe is celebrating a recent award by hosting a giveaway with Try Vermont First! This three room Inn is located in historic Bennington, VT. It’s cafe offers both a light fare and delicious desserts made in house., the world’s most comprehensive site for planning and booking bed and breakfast getaways, announces the first “B&B Innovator of the Year Award” to recognize bed and breakfast pioneers who constantly evolve their business and hospitality offerings to better meet the ever-changing needs of travelers.’s inaugural award goes to John Redding and Lisa Harrington-Redding, owners of The Safford Mills Inn and Café in Bennington, Vermont. To attract a younger, more contemporary traveler, the innkeepers added a martini bar to the inn and cleverly re-branded it as an A&A, or “Accommodations & Apertif.”

The inn offers complimentary martinis, wine, beer and appetizers every night. Since reopening as an “A&A,” the property has doubled its occupancy and attracted a wider mix of global travelers as well as locals craving staycations. “We are changing the face of traditional B&Bs,” says Lisa Harrington-Redding. “As avid travelers ourselves, we prefer comfortable, intimate spaces to enjoy each other as well as the local flavor. We have created an upscale martini/craft cocktail bar where our guests mingle with locals, and this focus on evening interaction and personal attention has been met with interest and delight.”

This is an international honor awarded to 1 out of 11,000 bed and breakfasts/small inns around the world. The Safford Mills Inn and Café has been recognized for business and hospitality innovations.



Congratulations Safford Mills!!!! What an exciting time for you and your A&A! We are thrilled to host this giveaway for a one night stay complete with a round of drinks, appetizers, and dessert for one couple. (Overnight must be booked by contacting Safford Mills Inn and date will be dependent upon availability when the winner books the room but must be used between November 2015 through April 2016.)


Are you ready to come visit Vermont? Do you live locally and need a stay-cation night away? Are you traveling through Bennington and want to stay in a comfortable upscale setting?


Simply ENTER HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Champlain Valley Apiaries Honey Giveaway


Champlain Valley Apiaries, located in Middlebury, VT has been a leader in the Vermont honey business for three generations. It was started by Charles Mraz and is currently run by Charles Mraz (the grandson!). Champlain Valley Apiaries are best known for their raw honey and liquid honey.


Raw honey is naturally crystallized without heating or filtering. It retains its natural fragrant flavor and healthful properties that it has when extracted from the honey comb. (from the CVA website)


This liquid honey is a staple in our house! We use honey in morning coffee, breakfast oatmeal, to bake with, and with evening tea. In comparison to VT’s other natural sweetener, maple syrup, I would say that honey is richly full of sweet flavor (not overly sweet!).

Last week I was fighting a head cold and drank warm water with honey for days. Honey is naturally antibacterial and full of antioxidants.


You can shop online for honey from Champlain Valley Apiaries anytime here. Join their mailing list for 10% off. Check out their great gift baskets.


Champlain Valley Apiaries is sending TWO lucky winners the gift pack pictured above.

ENTER HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway


Stay sweet,


Best taste tester!