Father’s Day Giveaway 2016


Happy Father’s Day! It’s time to let Dad put up his feet and be spoiled! We have a great collection of Vermont gifts to show your love and appreciation to Dad this year.



Gringo Jack’s makes dozens of tasty products that are on the top of  our “to buy Daddy” list! We all love their chips, salsa and bbq sauces. My husband is a big fan of their hot sauces too. Gringo Jack’s will send our winner 3 bottles of their craft beer sauces including Honey Brown Ale and Coffee Porter. LIKE Gringo Jack’s on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and Instagram.

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Alloy Jewelry has a very special gift for Dads: a personalized brass money clip. This is a great way to express your love for Dad, and have it be a constant everyday reminder of how much you care for him. Each Alloy Jewelry piece is handcrafted in Central Vermont. Also check out this 4 sided copper bar that can be personalized and made into a stunning key chain. LIKE Alloy Jewlery on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and on Instagram.


Celebrate Father’s Day with sweet treats from Time Out For Whoopie. Our family can not get enough of these cute little cakes. Our favorite flavors include peanut butter, maple walnut, triple chocolate and carrot cake. You can order gluten free whoopie pies too! LIKE Time Out For Whoopie on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and Instagram.

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Cheers to Dads! Let’s raise a glass in celebration, and make sure that glass is filled with Switchback Beer! This strong, great tasting ale has been brewed in Burlington since 2002 and is the beer of choice for the Dad in my house. Visit the Switchback Tap Room for drinks, special events and live music. Win this tracker sign – perfect for a “man cave”! LIKE Switchback Brewing Co on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and Instagram.



It’s not just a trend… it’s a life style! Do you know a Dad in need of quality beard care? Feared Beard makes products that will help to keep healthy and nourished as well as feeling and smelling great. The Started Set pictured above includes a Beard Oil, Beard Balm and wooden comb. Find them locally at Healthy Living, City Market and more. LIKE Feared Beard on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and Instagram.



WIN all this! Our winner can keep the gifts or send the gifts to Dads they love.



Enter HERE to WIN –> a Rafflecopter giveaway


Happy Father’s Day!


My Dad & my mini-me.

Mother’s Day Giveaway 2016


I love being a Mom. I feel honored and blessed to be the Mom to my two wonderful children. While I try to teach them about the world and about life, they teach me so much more. They teach me to never lose my imagination, to always read an extra chapter, to always show kindness, and that you need nothing more than love. I adore my kiddos and share this giveaway with you in celebration of them!


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Happy Mother’s Day to YOU from the following Vermont businesses:


Vermont Brownie Company’s amazingly rich brownies are sure to delight the mom with a sweet tooth and an appreciation for top quality products. Vermont Brownie Company will send our winner a Gourmet 6 Pack of brownies. This sampler includes six different flavors including Espresso Dulce de Leche and Maple Toffee Crunch – two of my favorites! Find Vermont Brownie Company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.


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Burke Bags are one of a kind pieces of art! They are hand sewn with Batik cotton and finished with a unique embroidery. The inside of the bag has 6 deep pockets. Our Mother’s Day winner will take home the beautiful Burke Bag pictured above. Find Burke Bags on Facebook!



Burlington Paint and Sip offers a variety of fun and relaxing events for Mom including Mimosa Mornings, Sangria Saturday and Date Nights.There are also Open Studio times with artists on hand to provide guidance and support.  Our winner will get a free seat at any upcoming event! Find Burlington Paint and Sip on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Burke Mountain Confectionery is creating mouth watering truffles and more. These hand crafted chocolates began with a family recipe and have been adapted and enhanced with unique Vermont flavors. Burke Mountain Confectionery will send our winner  The Maple Collection which includes 5 different Maple flavored truffles.  Find Burke Mountain Confectionery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Tiny Gang Designs continues to make me laugh with their witty and FUN cards! Guess which one pictured above I got for my mom. They have a great collection of cards for holidays, birthdays, special events and can create custom art too! Find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


We will choose one lucky reader to win ALL OF THE PRIZES above. And here’s an added bonus ~ our winner will get to send prizes from each business to Moms they love! That’s 5 prizes for YOU and 5 prizes for up to 5 moms of your choice!! HAPPY Mother’s Day!

NOTE that our rafflecopter forms gives you LOTS of ways to enter! You can visit Facebook pages, leave a comment on this blog post and more!



(click here——->) a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck, and of course….


Happy Mother’s Day!

~Honi (also known as “MOM!”, “Mother!!!!”, “Moooooooommmmmmm!”)

Happy 4th Birthday TVF!

Each year that we celebrate another birthday for Try Vermont First is like celebrating a family birthday. I love sharing the passion for all things local with my whole family, and together we love sharing Vermont giveaways with you!


It’s great to hear my children try to teach others about the importance of shopping locally. They are my little parrots and are learning to appreciate what’s made and offered in their great state.
To celebrate our last 4 years (and many more to come) we’ve collected prizes from five great Vermont businesses!

This year’s prizes include:



*Two jars of Vermont Peanut Butter. Win a jar of Creamy PB, an everyday staple at our house and a jar of Maple Walnut PB which offers just the right amount of sweetness. Their simple and all natural ingredients are blended to perfection! LIKE Vermont Peanut Butter on Facebook and stay up to date on where you can find their products and tasting demos near you.


*A one year family membership to Shelburne Farms. I wish that I could live on the farm. It is magical and one of my favorite places in all of Vermont. My family loves to visit the animals in the farmyard, hike on the trails, take a tractor ride, picnic and more! If you have never been to Shelburne Farms start planning your trip today! LIKE Shelburne Farms on Facebook and see what’s in season at the farm right now.


*Bag Balm! Why Bag Balm? For two reasons… 1. My blog’s first ever giveaway was for Bag Balm, see here, and 2. We use Bag Balm all the time for chapped lips and hands! Our winner will receive a new .25 ml tube and a 1oz tin. LIKE Bag Balm on Facebook – help them to reach 100,000 fans this year!


*DONUTS!! Celebratory Green Mountain Mini Baked Donuts! One must celebrate a Big Blog Birthday with sweet and fun donuts! We have ordered donuts for lots of family events including birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and more. Win a dozen mini donuts shipped right to your door. LIKE Green Mountain Mini Baked on Facebook and see their creative process and products.


*A gift certificate to J.Morgan’s Steakhouse in Montpelier. Enjoy lunch, dinner or weekend brunch. Get an award winning steak, fresh seafood, seasonally fresh favorites and more. Reserve your table for their Mother’s Day brunch! LIKE J.Morgan’s Steakhouse on Facebook and tell them we sent you there!

This is my family, loving all things VERMONT! We hope that you will find joy in our state too!

CLICK HERE to enter this giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck!
~Honi & family




Box of Vermont Giveaway

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Introducing BoxofVermont.com – your online source for Vermont goodie/gift boxes.Owner/creator Carrie Fezette told us that she was inspired to start this business because Vermont is such a “buy local friendly state“. I agree. I often ask “if you don’t buy it locally why do you buy it?”.

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Box of Vermont let’s you choose the items that you want to put into your box. Choose from seasonal gifts, sweets, art, coffee, candy and more! You can fill a box with 5 or 10 items of your choice, or let Box of Vermont choose for you.

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People travel from all over the world to enjoy Vermont’s beauty, resources, recreation, and products. Here’s a way to share some of Vermont’s best products with those that you love.

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Here is more information about BoxofVermont.com from Carrie:

“The box of Vermont is a way to showcase our state’s four seasons, spring is sugaring season we offer Butternut Mountain Farm Maple Syrup, fall is leaf-peeping time we offer greeting cards with photos of our beautiful fall foliage, winter is time for skiing we offer a copy of Freshies the new magazine for skiers offered by the Burlington Free Press, and summer is a great time to visit our great local breweries and festivals so we offer their koozies .”

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Send a Box of Vermont as a birthday gift, a new home/celebration gift, to new parents, to retired grandparents missing this wild Vermont winter, to college students, best friends, newlyweds. This would make a great realtor or cooperate gift. Anyone and everyone will be happy to receive a Box of Vermont.

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We were thrilled to find our Box of Vermont in our mailbox. It was filled with such a great variety of items. My son claimed the beef jerky for himself, the coffee went to my husband and my daughter and I enjoyed the maple popcorn.

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I was really excited to find the Waterbury savings booklet. It has valuable coupons to some of our favorite places such as The Blue Stone and Cold Hollow Cider Mill.

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BoxofVermont.com can be found on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. Today they are giving away a box to one lucky Try Vermont First reader.

To win ENTER HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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Vermont Brownie Company Giveaway


Are you hungry?

Hungry for a super treat made in Vermont? Vermont Brownie Company is here to deliver!



Vermont Brownie Company was founded eight years ago in Shelburne by Shawna Lidsky. Last year Vermont Teddy Bear acquired the sweet business and together they make a great pair.

What makes a Vermont Brownie so unique? They are are preservative free and made from all natural ingredients. They are using local ingredients from King Arthur Flour, Cabot Creamery, Vermont Creamery, and more (including Vermont maple syrup!).



The Gourmet Six Pack Sampler (shown above) is their current best seller. They sent me a sampler which I was more than happy to taste test.


I will start by saying that I loved, honestly LOVED, every single flavor. It is recommended that you microwave the brownie for 15 seconds before eating. Each was moist, rich, and melted in my mouth. The Signature brownie is their original brownie… the one that started it all. The Vermont Brownie website lists this brownie as “A.K.A. Chocolate ecstasy”. True.


I shared the Peanut Butter Brownie (above) with my children and here are their thoughts:

“Gooey, awesome, really good taste, I love it.” (My son, age 7.)

“Can’t complain about this!” (My diva daughter, age 4.)

I agree! This brownie is a bit of a sandwich with a  thick layer of peanut butter. The classic combination of sweet with salty is perfect!


You must try the Dark Chocolate Chevre Brownie, which beat famed celebrity chef Bobby Flay in a brownie baking challenge. This brownie is both sweet and savory with the addition of local chevre (goat cheese). After finishing this brownie myself (so fast I didn’t take a photo) I sat back to appreciate its complexity.


Everyone in my family loves walnuts in their brownies. My parents are known to complain if someone leaves out the nuts. These brownies are for nut lovers!! The name “Walnut Chunk” is quite an accurate name. You will not find small chopped up nuts, you will find large crunchy walnuts and walnut pieces in each bite.


The amazing brownie flavors don’t stop there (which is why the Gourmet Samplers are the perfect gift!). The Maple Toffee Crunch has a layer of maple candy that is out of this world. Regrettably I let my husband have this brownie, though I insisted on a taste. He is the family’s maple fan and and loved each bite. He suggest adding a scoop of Vermont ice cream on top.

Find details about each of Vermont Brownie’s 8 flavors here on their website.


Order your Valentine a sampler pack today. You can also order a single brownie, two pack, a dozen, or more! There are many size options. You can also order personalized wedding/party favors and corporate gifts. If you are really ready to spoil someone enroll them in the Monthly Brownie Program (husband… take note…). You can also send a Vermont Teddy Bear with your Vermont Brownies!

Save money today by using the code VBCSAVE10VT. You’ll save 15% off any order!! Offer valid until February 15, 2016.


Vermont Brownie Company is going to send two lucky winners each a Valentine’s Gourmet Brownie Sampler (6 pack). Be sure to complete all of the entry options to increase your chances of winning!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Hearts Day!





Owl Energy Bar Giveaway


Owl Energy Bars are a favorite snack for the kids and grown ups in my house. A few years ago I introduced Owl Energy Bars to my readers with our first Owl Giveaway.


Owl Energy Bars are made in Brattleboro and owner Allison Wright has been making bars for over 5 years. Recently she has launched a new version of these popular bars: Owl Pellets!


The Owl Pellet is a 100-calorie snack bar appropriate for kids, calorie conscious individuals, and smaller appetites. We have brought them to the movies, skiing, and on long car trips. They are an easy and healthy snack to have on hand.


The bars are delicious! Soft, chewy, sweet, a bit tart and packed with goodness! All of Own Energy Bar ingredients are non-GMO. Ingredients include dates, honey, peanut butter, gluten free oats, almonds and more. Find a full list of ingredients and nutrition facts here.

You can purchase Owl Energy Bars online or at these locations across New England. Stock up for your next adventure and for all your healthy snacking needs!



We would love for you to LIKE Owl Energy Bars on Facebook. Stay up to date on where to find them, product announcements, and more! Note that liking this Facebook page is worth 5 entries in our giveaway!


Enter to be one of three winners in this giveaway! Each winner will receive an Owl Pellet Pouch with 12 mini bars!
ENTER HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck & happy healthy snacking,

Dippylulu Giveaway



Lu Lu Hoy, owner of Dippylulu, Lippydudu and Feeling The Bern (three Etsy Shops) has a variety products that I am excited to share with you.


Let’s start with these fabulous lip balms.  Warning: you may want to eat these. Seriously. They are so wonderful! Sugar on Snow is my favorite – it truly taste/smells just like sweet maple greatness.

Each lip balm is handmade using argan oil, beeswax, shea butter and more! Your happy lips will thank you for treating them so well.


What goes best with Sugar on Snow? Pickles of course! This is such a fun gift. My son, a seven year old pickle lover, loves this uniquely flavored lip balm. I like the ingredients, nothing fake or funky.


I laughed out loud and emailed Lu Lu as soon as I saw the items in her Dippylulu shop: witty and comical smell defenders for the loo. Choices for bathroom spray scents include Exotic Passions, Forbidden Fruit and Beer! Forget traditional Valentine’s Day gifts…. get your big stinker a big stink spray!

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I asked Lu Lu what her best seller is and she told us:
“My most successful product in Dippylulu is Literary Lites. It combines my background in publishing with my enjoyment of earthy humor. Apparently this combination works for others, as they have been featured on prominent sites like The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, and are sold in many book stores across the country. The most successful product in Lippydudu is Shut Up and Kiss Me lip balm. I think the appeal is obvious: who doesn’t like kisses, and it’s fair to say that we all need to shut up sometimes.”


I’ll leave you with parting thoughts from Lu Lu, or the last things that she wanted readers to know:

“1. I worked with the legendary fashion designer, Mary Quant.
2. I threw mud pies at members of a royal family. (I was 5 and they were 6)
3. I get all my best product ideas when I’m in the bathroom.
4. I never remember to take my vitamins.
5. I always remember to floss.”


These three stores have a great selection of items! Lip balm, bathroom spray and Bernie!!

Now it’s time for our giveaway!! Enter to win a $30 gift certificate plus free shipping to Dippylulu!
ENTER HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck,

Bitybean Giveaway


Have you heard about the little carrier making a big happy impact on baby wearing families? Bitybean, located in Charlotte! This compact carrier weighs only half a pound yet can safely hold babies and toddlers up to 40 pounds.


This business was started out of necessity. Founder Doug Hartwell wanted a carrier that he could easily store away after adventuring with his child. After not finding one to meet his needs he designed one.



There are so many reasons to love Bitybean – especially it’s size. It can fit into a diaper bag, a backpack, a stroller, a car’s glove box, even a purse! This is ideal. There are many, many times I have taken my children for a stroller ride only to have them scream to get out. Or they want to walk for an extended time and are soon tired and needing a lift. It’s easy to have the Bitybean tucked away to save the day.


Babies as young as 3 months can enjoy a ride in a Bitybean.

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This is my dear friend Jen and her beautiful baby girl Ayla. Ayla and her twin brother Ethan both love riding in the Bitybean. Jen and her husband have both worn the babies in the Bitybean and found it incredibly comfortable. The babies are just over a year and both now prefer to ride on their parent’s backs. With two babies, and a big brother, these parents love to have a happy baby and to be hands free.


Jen says: “I love how compact and small it is. It is so easy to carry it along with you or even leave it in the diaper bag-Perfect for emergencies, on the go and traveling!”


Find more information about Bitybean and place an order on their website. You can find these carriers locally at Onion River Sports and Outdoor Gear Exchange and more.

Go play with your baby! Grab your snowshoes and your Bitybean and have a fun adventure together!

Bitybean is giving one lucky winner a carrier, liner, and hood! To win click and ENTER HERE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have fun!


Zutano Giveaway



I was at Zutano last month filming with their staff for ShopVT2015. While I was in the downtown Montpelier shop I had to look at and feel every item. The store is so much fun to be in. I am happy to tell you more about this great Vermont business and share an opportunity to win a gift card!

Michael and Uli Belenky dreamed up and started Zutano in 1989 after the birth of their first daughter. Both were artistic professionals and saw a need for more clothing options. In 1991 they moved to Cabot, VT where Zutano is still located today.


Here is more company information (from their website):

“From the start, it was clear that Michael and Uli Belenky were building more than a company. They were building a community. Zutano is still located in Vermont today, still creating products in the brightest colors with high-quality fabrics and in adorable patterns and animal prints that are designed to be mixed and matched. Their company embodies the whimsical and an enduring love for everything BABY.”


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Zutano sent me a box of adorable baby clothes that I was happy to share with my nieces. It was fun to play dress up and take lots of pictures:

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Above is my niece Veyda wearing Zutano’s Sweet N Flower Long Sleeve Toddler Button Dress, Toddler Shaggy Vest with Ears, Cozie Toddler Shaggy Hat and Striped Leggings. Veyda is two and a half. She likes to run and fall and dance and be very silly. In these pieces from Zutano she can move freely and be comfortable all day! These clothes wear incredibly well, meaning younger cousins or friends are likely to acquire Zutano hand me downs for years to come. The dress is adorable with it’s lace trim and colorful flowers. The hat is soft and warm for the upcoming cold winter months.

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This is my niece Raegan. I like to call her “Sweet baby Rae”. She is the most cuddly, snugly baby. She is 10 months old and starting to crawl and move on her own. She looks adorable in Zutano’s Hot Pink Waffle Cozie Baby Reversible Vest and Fuchsia Cozie Baby Booties along with a sweet striped top and patterned pants. These Zutano baby booties are the ONLY bootie I have found to stay on baby’s feet and to keep feet warm. They are a go-to baby gift, a “must buy” for those you love!

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Need a few more gift ideas? My four year old daughter is getting the Mochi Cat Purse pictured above. She will adore it!

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Here are more ideas! The Zoe Doll would make the perfect pal for your young child. The Cozie Baby Hat is pictured in the color “apple” but comes in 6 great colors. Get one for each season and outfit. The Owl Baby Blanket would be an instant favorite, and is my all time favorite Zutano pattern! The Cozie Lined Baby Mittens are a must-have for young babies. The string will help insure that no mittens get lost this winter, and they come in over 10 colors.

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Here’s a trip down memory lane and my babies in a few Zutano favorites.


Note that Zutano has a wonderful Nursery collection too, including Aden and Anais blankets.

Now it’s time to shop! Enter below to win a $50 gift card to Zutano! Be sure to visit their Facebook page and tell them we sent you!



a Rafflecopter giveaway



Happy Holidays,


Basil & Prune the Pug BOOK Giveaway & Donation


Meet Basil and Prune the Pug! These adorable characters are based on the real-life family of author Kim Wassick. Kim’s granddaughter Basil was the 2nd baby of the family, the first was Prune who ruled as King of the House before baby arrived!


Kim tells us more: Prune is a very spoiled and loved black, chubby pug. Nobody was sure how Prune was going to receive a new baby in the house but he was so cute with Basil. They quickly became best friends. He sleeps with her, eats her food and plays with her. They are just too cute together. “



Kim, a graphic designer, was inspired to create these characters just as they are. Their stories are based on their real life and the fun things Basil and Prune do together.




Basil and Prune visit the Farmer’s Market, do yoga together, and go through the daily grind of baby/doggie life.


My family adores these books. They are very well written – engaging young readers, older readers, and parent readers. The illustrations are playful and eye catching.


Purchase these books online or locally at The Bennington Bookstore or Northshire Bookstore (Manchester). Be sure to LIKE and follow Basil and Prune on facebook; there you will learn the latest adventure news and/or where to find Kim at upcoming events.

Now it’s time for a giveaway! Kim is going to send our winner a set of hardcover books PLUS she will donate a set of books to a daycare, school, or library (winner’s choice).

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Happy reading!



PS: Look for Prune the Pug shirts: