Super Fun Surprise Giveaway!!

I am going to let you in on a little secret — (some of you already know this, but…) from time to time we enjoy picking out some of our very special readers, contacting them via email to ask for shipping info, and then mailing out surprise packages. Just because!

Sometimes I take the girls to the thrift shop and we’ll find little vintage treasures, magazines or books, kitchen towels… that sort of thing. If I know it is something a particular reader would truly appreciate, we set it aside. Then we pack it all up and make a special trip to the post office.
It is so much fun, and we never ever expected to get anything back in return. Yet, that is precisely what happened a few days ago when this awesome package arrived from Val in the Rose Garden. What a wonderful surprise!!
Inside was a beautiful card, a felted wool hat Val made (which Clara seemed to claim and refuses to take off), a Real Simple Family magazine (I love that!), a child’s apron and cookie cutter set from… China (?) Emily LOVES them…. and wait… there was more!
This pretty potholder Val made from vintage bed sheets! I love how it goes so well in our kitchen! Val also included lots of great vintage fabrics that I have big plans for…. maybe some bread bags? Oh, that would be so much fun!
Thank you, Val!! If you haven’t been to Val’s little corner of the internet over at Collecting the Moments… One by One, definitely go check it out. I’ve been calling her site “the best kept secret on the internet”. It is an absolute treasure trove!
Now the fun part — we are just itching to bless another lucky reader with a package, but this one will be a complete surprise! To enter for your chance to win this super-fun giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling us about the best surprise you’ve ever received in the mail. Winner will be chosen by…. Emily!! And contacted via email for shipping info. This giveaway ends Tuesday, December 1st @ 6:30 PM EST.
Good luck!!!


  1. Dear Valerie,

    Pick me! Pick me!

    One time, I got "The World's Deadliest Pests!" on VHS — free from Orkin!

    It even showed the Orkin man double checking to make sure he properly locked his vehicle. I was convinced that I could trust him after seeing that.


  2. @ Mark — This giveaway kind of reminds me of those elusive "bags of crap" that Woot sells from time to time. I couldn't believe how difficult it was for you to buy a "bag of crap"!

  3. Val in the Rose Garden says

    In line with Mark's thinking I think my best gift surprize was a bag of popcorn from our Sewage Inspection guy when we got the house inspected. It came along with a DVD of our sewer inspection. How sweet is that???

    I love that you love it Valerie. And that pot holder looks so good in your kitchen!! πŸ™‚ Thanks for making me smile… again. And thanks for all the wonderful little treats you have sent us. It makes my day to be your penpal. πŸ˜€

    Love Val

  4. Val in the Rose Garden says

    Oh and the apron and cookie cutters are from Japan. Cyan picked them out. πŸ™‚


  5. Lenetta @ Nettacow says

    Oh, how fun!!! The best surprise I ever got in the mail was sourdough starter from a bloggy friend. (Second best – surprise organic cereal bag liners! And I'm not kidding! :>)) Thanks for the chance!!

    nettacow at gmail dot com

  6. We adopted my daugther from South Africa. We were so blessed to receive a scrapbook in the mail of her first few months. I treasured suprise that will be cherished forever!
    Love your site….look forward to reading it daily.

  7. The best surprise I can think of is when I get something that I ordered that I have been wanting for a long time! I can't remember getting something that was a total surprise! Except for letters from friends ant that is nice as well!

  8. Packer Family says

    The best surprise gift I ever got was a big box of scraps from my mothe in law. She had gone through her Craft room and filled the box with leftover fabrics, zippers, ribbons, buttons and a ton more! I'm still having fun with it!

  9. Love to Craft by Chrissy says

    That is such a great idea, and so very sweet!

  10. Hehehe, I love the felted hat, and how cute does Clara look?

    Have a good day (or er, night? Sorry I'm in the UK lol)


  11. The best surprise I ever received by mail came one day after I moved to Vienna. My mom sent me a package full of things from my home town. After 5 years of living here, I still have those reminders in every room of our apartment – and they still make me smile and think of home.

  12. Amy's Stocking Stuffers says

    OK, this is a slightly convoluted story but here goes. πŸ˜‰ I used to work part-time at Waldenbooks, and my husband and I are huge science fiction fans. So one year the store had this 3-D cardboard life-size display of a battle droid. We put him together as a prop for our New Year's party, and it took so long to put him together that we vowed he must attend the party every year. We would dress him up in that year's theme, like a flower child dress for our Sixties New Year's party.

    Then we moved cross-country and didn't think we could take him, so we left him with a friend.

    Years later the friend moved also, and lo and behold, Billy Joe Jim Bob the Battle Droid showed up in our mail — in several separate packages! We got the biggest laugh out of that. Still haven't managed to put him back together…..

  13. La Dolce Vita says

    How fun!

    The best surprises are surprise parties, lost money found in pockets and real letters sent by mail!

  14. VISART - DaLi Designs says

    Love surprises, never got them though:-), love your stories very inspiring, me and my oldest love to watch your blog for new ideas.
    Thank you!

  15. i have a penpal that i've been writing to for over 20 years. even in the age of the internet and cheap phone calls, we still write regular letters, so i'd say any letter or card from her is my greatest surprise!

  16. How fun! I received a nice package from Val before too…she is great.
    Have a nice Thanksgiving!

  17. I got a bag full of surprise scrapbooking embellishments in the mail!!!

  18. Satsuki Rebel says

    I've received a few nice cards. I think most of my best surprises have been in person or online though. The people I'm close to don't really use the post much.

  19. Sew Impatient says

    This is so cute! Great idea πŸ™‚
    I honestly can't say I've ever gotten a surprise in the mail, except maybe birthday cards. Those are always fun πŸ™‚

  20. I think the best surprise I received in the mail was a flower. Sounds silly, but about 18 years ago one of my best friends sent me a carnation in a padded envelope. (I lived in Upstate NY alone with infant Amber and he was in MD.) He had no idea it would get squished! LOL. Not only was it a sweet surprise, but the gesture and laugh I got made it absolutely priceless.

    @Mark: OMG! Thanks for that laugh. I really needed it.

    I love the surprise you and your girls received. It's always nice to get something in the mail just because someone was "thinking of you." I think we all – especially me – need to get back to doing that more often.

  21. I can't think of any surprises that I've received, but I have occasionally gotten money in the mail unexpectedly, and that was certainly great! I guess it was a surprise, too, but not really in the way that you meant.

  22. I almost forgot! It was two VHS tapes. One was "The World's Deadliest Pests" and the other was "What You Should Know About Carpenter Ants".

    I still have them. They meant that much to me.


  23. Cottage Dreamers says

    This probably sounds lame, but it's true. I love to be surprised with kind, hand written cards or letters that, of coarse, I was never expecting. That always makes my day!

  24. I love that hat!

  25. alltheposts says

    I get lots of fun packages from my grandma! She is in the early stages of Alzheimer's and she loves to send me things I "forgot" at her house. Her iron, a half empty bottle of ketchup, nail polish, lotion and too many coupons to even list them. The best parts are the stories she writes and includes in the package. They are from the point of view of an animal, usually a mouse, and they are absolutely priceless!! I would seriously run into a burning building to save them!!!

  26. Samurai Mom says

    Once I got a cd of old family photos and some genealogy from a relative. Very cool!

  27. SchrefflerFamily says

    The best surprise I ever got in the mail was a packet of genealogy story written by my husband's grandfather (who is now dead). No one on our side even knew he had written that. And I wasn't expecting anything!

  28. ...they call me mommy... says

    WOW! What a blessing! πŸ™‚

    My best gift…hmmm…that's hard! I guess one of my favorite was a lovely card I received in the mail filled with recipes that I NEEDED THAT DAY…it came from an online friend in THE NETHERLANDS! I was so blessed!

    You all have a super swell Thanksgiving! πŸ™‚


  29. We've gotten a lot of special mail at our house (my favorites were always from my Grandma who was an avid letter writer). My boys' favorite surprise package was a special letter and some stickers that Santa sent them last year (courtesy of my lovely sister) just to make sure that they knew that he was as excited to visit our house as the boys were to have him visit.

  30. Dear Valerie,

    The best "surprise" I ever got in the mail was money! I had submitted an insurance claim and forgot all about it, 'til one day, months after I had sent it in, an envelop showed up in my mailbox with a nice cheque enclosed.


  31. The best surprise I ever got in the mail was a huge box of Cedars Hummus, Cucumber dip and Salsa!! I had contacted them regarding their product, expecting to get a coupon and got a supply of their products and coupons too!!!

  32. How fun! I love getting surprises in the mail from blog friends. One of the best surprises I ever got in the mail, though, was a $80 check from my university. Turns out they had overcharged me, and it was REALLY nice to have that extra money!

  33. The best gift I ever got in the mail was a care package from my Mom when I was in college. It had all kinds of stuff in it, all my favorites. like my favorite nylons, my favorite, gum, my favorite snack, my favorite nail polish etc. My Mom rocks!

  34. Raising a Happy Child says

    The best surprise in the mail? Hmm… A giant box from my Internet friend for my daughter's birthday.

  35. Last year my husband was out of work and we received a one hundred dollar bill wrapped in copy paper. no note just anonymous to be spent any way we saw fit. What a blessings.
    Love your site!

  36. Committed Recycler says

    This is kind of a long story. But the best thing I ever got in the mail was a lost package. My mom and sisters sent my family a box timed to arrive well before my daughters birthday mid August. It never arrived. I went to the post office, where they came to know me by sight, I called her post office, the package was just lost.
    One day in December I got a knock at the door. My letter carrier said, "I think you've been waiting for this" smiled and turned quickly away, just barely hearing my distracted thanks.
    It was that lost package. Inside were the gifts my sister got for us on her trip to Africa, a huge bag of pistacios (my daughter had just learned to shell them in July), a package of big girl Dora underwear, some small toys and the Burka my husband sent from Afghanistan when he was deployed there and had lent my mother to share with her Eastern Studies class.
    Even though it was something I had waited for, it was also something I had mourned the loss of and resigned myself to never receiving and it was a huge, wonderful surprise.

  37. Right before Christmas, my husband and I decided to give a $200 offering to a local missionary. Although the offering stretched us financially, we knew God wanted us to give it. A few days later, we received a check in the mail for $250 as a "love offering" from a couple at church. We felt so blessed and realized that you really CAN'T outgive God!

  38. The biggest surprise I ever received in the mail was a Publix grocery store $100 gift card from a sweepstakes I entered last year.

  39. The best surprise I ever recieved in the mail was a huge box of brand new baby clothes for my first baby when he was just weeks old. It was from a friend who went crazy at the Children's Place Online. It was a blast to dig through!

    sharonsaad at gmail dot com

  40. The biggest surprise I got in the mail was a pair of knitted baby legs and a decorated onesie from a friend I went to university with. It was such a surprise because because she had lost her sweet baby boy just 3 days after my son was born. She was grieving yet she thought of my son and took the time to make and send the gift.

  41. MamaFeelgood says

    It has been eons since I got a package in the mail..but I do remember randomly getting a feather mask in the mail from an online friend.

  42. The best surprise I ever got in my mailbox was a plain, unmarked white envelope with five $20 bills. No kidding! I got my weekly ads and other misc junk mail and at the bottom of the stack- there it was!

    Thanks Valerie and fam for maintaing a great blog! πŸ˜€

  43. I was living away from home for high school and I was feeling pretty homesick. In the mail the next day I received this beautiful hand made card from my Mom. She had cut out little flowers from some lace and fabric and made a little flower garden on the front. Simple words,"I love you and miss you. I will be waiting for you Friday night". I still have the card. My Mom passed 17 years ago. Nothing beats mail!!!

  44. Stephanie Griffith says

    Oh fun! I would love to win this one. I love surprises and no one around here is any good at keeping secrets but me. πŸ™‚

  45. Hi Valerie

    What a sweet and idea to send a surprise package to some of your special readers.

    The best surprises I received in the mail were the beautiful presents that blogging friends on the other side of the world sent to us when we had Blake. Completely unexpected and so special.

  46. says

    Perhaps the best surprise I have received in the mail came from my high school math teacher and track coach. I sent her a birth announcement when my son was born. On his first birthday, she sent him a gift and wrote such a warm and wonderful message to me. I saved it of course, but I am not organized enough to keep track of it. Over the last four years, I have come across the card while moving things around and I always take time out to sit and read it. I was 29 years old when my son was born and have seen this woman only a few times since high school graduation. It amazes me that so many years later she continues to touch my life. If that's not motivation to become a teacher, I don't know what is. In fact, I did become a teacher largely in part because of the her. Thank you Mrs. Francis. If I am selected, I would like the gift to be sent to Mrs. Francis instead of me…to a be a thank you of sorts.

  47. The girl who painted trees says

    Surprises in the mail are so much fun. I remember waiting with anticipation for care packages from my parents when I nannied in Switzerland. But the best mail I ever got was a surprise card from my husband when we were still dating.

    juliecerdas at gmail dot com

  48. The best surprise I ever received in the mail was a postcard for my daughter. When she was in third grade her class was asked to collect postcards from the 50 states. I told all my family members about this and they sent cards from Boston, New Hampshire and Florida where they live. Then one day we got a postcard from Alaska! My brother had mentioned the project to one of his friends who remembered us when he was in Alaska. Needless to say this postcard was a hit in the class. And my daughter was touched by her uncle's thoughtfulness and the fact that he talks about her with his friends! in St. Louis

  49. The best Surprise I've gotten in the mail is Christmas CD's from K-Love, I had no idea I had even enterned anything to recieve them! Can't wait to get them out and listen to them today while we put up the tree.

    ~*~ Christina ~*~

  50. The best surprise I ever received in the mail was a gift certificate for a massage at a local spa – what a treat! πŸ˜€

  51. Pick me i love surprises in my mail. A welcome change from bills and junk mail.

  52. Country Living for Us says

    Awesome surprise box of goodies you received!!! I think the greatest thing I ever received in the mail, as a surprise, was a box of odd and ends for scrapbooking! I have been trying to make scrapbooks for all of the kids over the last few years and a friend from a yahoo group surprised me with a box of her extra and left over goodies πŸ™‚

  53. Valerie,
    I enjoy reading about the activities you come up with your children.

    I am from Ohio. During my junior year in college, I was studying in England and it was the year of the cicada in Ohio. During my end of year exams, my father sent me a cicada in a baggie with a post-it note attached with the writing, "are exams bugging you?" Very representative of his humor.

  54. Paul and Mandy says

    I live pretty far away from my family, and the best surprise packages are the ones that I don't know are coming…I call anything that is not a bill and is handwritten "homemade mail". I absolutely love it…and everyday I listen for the mailman's loud motor and squeaky brakes hoping for some "homemade mail".


  55. Best surprise in the mail would have to be the year my husband and I lived away from his family and his mom made a big stocking for us and filled it with all sorts of goodies. She has always been a sucker for stockings.

    Hope you guys had an awesome Thanksgiving!

  56. i love it. and i live val's blog!

  57. I received a cute little felt mouse that someone made. It can be used for a pin cushion or a cat toy, so being I dont have a cat, its a pin cushion. I have no idea who mailed it..maybe a secret friend is out there…hope so!

  58. Fun surprises via mail are plentiful, it's hard to choose! How about my first French coffee press, sent by the high school teacher who introduced me to her college, which I had just started attending.

  59. I don't often get surprise packages in the mail. My favorite surprise, however, was when we had just moved to Texas and I was a bit lonely. I received a letter from my Grandpa that simply said, "I love you."