Giving From The Heart

In today’s economy, everyone is watching where they spend money.   However, while giving to charity may be lessened, the gift of giving still remains present.  With so many charities out there, choosing which charity to give to seems daunting.  My best advice – pick a charity that “speaks” to your heart.

When we first created, we partnered up with Share Our Strength. Their vision “is to end hunger and poverty in the United States and abroad.”  Especially with Leisa and me being moms, we both agree that no child should grow up hungry.

I think that through your life, certain charities speak louder to you.  Depending on where you are in your life can determine what is most important to you at the time.  My favorite charity is The Compassionate Friends (TCF).  The mission of The Compassionate Friends “is to assist families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age and to provide information to help others be supportive.”  Unfortunately, the way I learned about TCF was after my younger brother, Jon, passed away in May of 2009.  For me, being able to give back to this charity that has, and continues to be, a source of strength to me, is worth giving to.

One way that I am able to donate money is thru  For each event in my daughter’s life, I take a percentage of their gift and make a donation in memory of their  Uncle Jonny.  Whether it was a gift from their birthday, or the holidays, Alison & Lauren know that they are doing something to honor their Uncle, and make their mom proud in the process.

What charity is closest to your heart?  Is it to help a rescued animal, or donate money to Share Our Strength?  Whichever charity it is, there is no wrong way when giving from the heart.



Ordering online – which one is for you?

Ordering online gifts is pretty commonplace in today’s world.  Not only is it convenient, but also eco-friendly.  While there are many online vendors to choose from, how does one go about picking the right one?

There are many factors that go into finding the right vendor for your purchase.  Most of the time, money plays a big part.  How much money do you want to spend on the gift?  Is shipping additional? Another factor is the guarantee of what you see online will actually be the product you want.

The great part of ordering online at is the fact that you get what you pay for, because you decide how much you want to spend.  The unique twist to this online gift registry is that each gift is three gifts in one.  A percentage of your gift is divided three ways – contribution to your child’s college fund, a charitable donation, and a gift card.  It is easy to set up a registry – and it’s free!  Go online today to register your child’s special upcoming event.


Have an Eco-Friendly Christmas!

If you’re like me, going out in the cold during the Holiday season to buy  gifts is not my cup of tea.  In fact, I’d rather be at home drinking tea while ordering online!  Another reason I like shopping online is the fact that it is convenient and eco-friendly.

According to the December 4th online story by Benjamin Koconis of The Washington Informer, “Online holiday spending in general is up from last year.  ‘For the holiday season-to-date, $11.64 billion has been spent online, marking a 13-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year,’ comScore said.”

The article continues, that “For many shoppers, the hustle and bustle of large shopping malls is more trouble than it’s worth, leaving them searching for other ways to buy gifts. Online shopping provides a comfortable alternative to many of the pitfalls associated with holiday shopping, such as traffic congestion, large crowds, and physical fatigue.”

Ordering online with not only saves you money on gas, but also offers no packaging, no wrapping paper and no trips to the Post Office.  Since delivery trucks are not involved, using a service like is the best way to make your holiday shopping Eco-friendly!



The True Holiday Spirit without the Stuff

This is the time of year when we think about all the holiday get-togethers, the decorations, and the shopping.  The prep for Thanksgiving followed by Hanukkah then three more weeks until Christmas puts me on HIGH ALERT.  It’s a giant to-do list and that is my entire focus for the next 25 days.  We have family that celebrates both Holidays, we have dinners and gift exchanges.  Though I love this time of year I find it so stressful.  Until I take a step back.  I read news articles or see headlines that many are still struggling financially due to job loss.  The charities themselves are raising less and less money due to everyone else’s bad fortune.  Wouldn’t it be better to focus and spend on those that don’t have versus those that do have?  How about a combo gift?  Donate to a charity in honor of a friend or family member while giving a smaller gift.  You can use as a family holiday gift registry and tell family and friends that a portion of whatever they give will go to your favorite charitable organization.    

 A registry helps in so many ways.  No pressure to pick the right gift.  And with any dollar amount can be given – – no floor, no ceiling.  It’s quick and easy from the comfort of your home.  And maybe this year, your dream gift is a weekend trip skiing or to the beach or a weekend cruise for the family.  Instead of more stuff, how about less stuff and more ACTION!  Something different – –  to get a gift for the whole family and help others at the same time.  Check it out today at


The holiday season has begun – ready or not!

A friend of mine was shopping in a local department store this weekend and heard Christmas music.  Really?  We just got thru Halloween and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet!  You know what that means, the holiday season has begun – ready or not!

According to the November 3rd Business Wire report from New York, “Though recent reports suggest retailers are optimistic about holiday sales and expect to see better year-over-year results, shoppers disagree and are planning to be more frugal than they were last year when it comes to holiday spending, according to a survey released today by global business-advisory firm AlixPartners LLP. The survey of U.S. consumers asked about their spending patterns over the past year and their plans for the upcoming holiday season. Notably, the survey found that consumers plan to spend an average of 8% less on holiday products and gifts than they did during last year’s holiday season.”

With increased online shopping in the forecast, I have  registered my daughters at and will do so this year again.  I feel this is the best way to communicate with family and friends about what my girl’s want and need.   This way, my family and friends have stress-free gifting and can spend whatever they’d like.

Once I set up individual registries online for my daughters, I am able to e-mail my family and friends a link to their registries and our wish for gift giving through  As a result, my daughters are able to have money put away in their college funds, donate money to their favorite charity, and not be bombarded with too many toys.  My daughters love getting a gift card to go shopping for that perfect gift, and as an added bonus, they learn about the value of a dollar.



Holiday Shopping Season Begins Now!

I was listening to the news yesterday and I heard that some of the big retailers have officially started their Holiday sales as of this weekend.  The big start to the Holiday shopping season used to begin the Friday after Thanksgiving… not anymore!  I feel so desensitized to the “sales”.  Every weekend the multi-page advertisements are headlined “Lowest Price of the Season”.  How do you know if you are getting the best lowest price?  Do you buy early?  Do you buy later?  I don’t have an answer.  The only thing I have figured out is that sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas the traditional Board Games go on sale which I think is because the retailers feel like the games are too old-fashioned or not  popular enough.   That’s when I stock up!

The whole holiday shopping scene is frustrating to me.  I never know what to buy for anyone.  I look at my family and friends that I exchange with and everyone appears to have what they need [which is a good thing!].  So now my assignment becomes finding something original or unique – but with the caveat  not to break the bank.  If I do find something, I doubt my judgment.  What if they hate it?  What if they already have it?  What if they are allergic to it?  Needless to say, it’s a stressful time of year. 

For me, the Holidays are a time to get together with family and friends.  Just hanging out, enjoying good food and listening to great stories.  I like to think that a registry can take some of the stress out of the gift giving process.  It can make all of that shopping stress disappear into thin air.  With my almost 8 year old and my 13 year old, the holiday list is made up of three digit dollar $$$ amount items:  think Apple, XBOX, American Girl Dolls….  That registry cash is looking good!


Teaching Kids About Money

Now that my youngest has entered elementary school, I can finally breathe a little easier knowing both girls are on the same schedule.  At least during the school day!  However, with elementary school welcomes a lot of new friends.  Our once preschool small knit family has now morphed into double, even triple the amount of school friends in our lives.  I’m not complaining, I believe in social interaction amongst kids, but when it comes to birthday party planning, I need help!

Try telling your child he/she can only invite “x” number of friends to their party.  It can get out of control, and expensive! And, furthermore, I don’t’ even know the parents of these “new” friends/classmates!  So, what’s a mom to do?

I encountered this dilemma 2 years ago with my oldest daughter.   The solution:  registered Alison at and was able to put her registry number and information on the invitation.  That way, the moms I didn’t know were able to look at the registry and see Alison’s gift choices.

Upon receiving college savings as well as donating money to her favorite charity, Alison was able to receive a gift card and purchase her own gift. Not only is she understanding the value of the dollar, but she also gets to pick out the gift of her choice.

As explained in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to a Well-Behaved Child, “kids need to know how the economy works. No, not stocks, interest rates, and world markets!  I mean the basic ins and outs of a family economy. You can start when your kids are very young by helping them understand the difference between needs and wants, that money comes from working, what money looks like, and that everybody has a job (a kid’s job is to learn things, to play, and to participate in the family). As they get older (once they know that a nickel is worth less than a dime, even though it’s larger), you can talk with them about credit cards, bank interest, and so on. Kids can learn about budgeting from the time they are about seven. Remember that a solid money education is one of the best tools you can give your kids—it will aid them the rest of their lives.“


Do you have a college savings plan for your children?

Hi, I’m Andrea, co-founder and Executive Director of with Leisa & Jen.  As Leisa told you in the previous blog, I am a working mom who is always looking for the easiest way to handle gift giving.  One of the benefits of is the saving for college part.  To be honest, it wasn’t until we created this registry that I started planning for my daughters’ college fund.  My girls are 7 and 5 year’s old and it’s never too late to start saving.  This was the motivation I needed to setting up each of their savings accounts.

There are so many college saving plans, also known as “529 Plans”,  out there.  Which one will most benefit my children?  Will my children be able to choose a college that is in state only where I live, or will the girls be able to use their fund at any state college nationwide?  Do I have to contribute monthly or annually?  All of this was foreign to me.

There are many good plans out there to choose from. Some have unique features which may interest you. After a lot of research on our end, we recommend the college savings plan offered by the State of Iowa, College Savings Iowa. There are many features of this plan that we believe are helpful to our customers, especially the low amount of the deposit required to get started. Here’s what we like about the College Savings Iowa plan:

  • Enrollment is free; Just a $25 deposit is needed to get started.
  • You can open and manage your account online, takes just minutes.
  • You can invest as little as $25 each time you contribute.
  • Investment management services provided by well known, top rated Vanguard Investments.
  • Take advantage of Upromise rewards to grow your account balance.

By using a college savings plan, your choice of school is not affected by the state sponsoring your 529 savings plan. For example, you can be a Maryland resident, invest in a College Savings Iowa plan and send your child to a university in California.

Additionally, college savings plans are reported on the federal aid application as an asset of the parent (assuming the parent is the account owner which we recommend), not the child. Any distributions (withdrawals) from the plan that are used to pay for the child (beneficiary’s) education expenses are not counted as either parent or student income. Ultimately, there is little affect on receiving Financial Aid while having a huge upside of additional savings for your child at a time they will most need it.

Please note, does not receive any commission for accounts opened with College Savings Iowa nor is affiliated with College Savings Iowa. College Savings Iowa is a non-advisor plan.

Starting a college plan is easy to do!  Whichever college plan you set up or are currently enrolled in, knowing that is there to help us with gift giving and providing for the future makes me a happy mom!

Welcome to the party TripleTheGift!

Hi, I’m Leisa, co-founder and CEO of  My other co-founders are my favorite (and only) sister Jen and my very good friend Andrea.  Andrea and I are both working mom’s looking for the “there has got to be a better way” solution.  We both work from home and we both are very involved in our children’s lives.  Life is complicated.  Everything takes three times as long to do when you have kids so we have to do things better.  With these thoughts in mind, we created TripleTheGift, an online gift registry for children.

When you have kids, very early on you realize that “the birthday party” is no ordinary event; it is similar to a wedding.  There is the theme, the party goods, the menu, the special invitations, the outfit, and of course, the perfect cake.  Because our kids start preschool at age 2, they have friends.  And there it begins – – a childhood full of parties.  So parties fall on the “complicated list” for Andrea and me.  If you have more than one child, it’s a multiple-times-per-year-complication.

I’m glad to report there has been significant progress over the last ten years (and I can vouch for that since my oldest is 13) in the party business.  Now, bowling alleys and gymnasiums and other similar places offer an “all inclusive” type of party where they include invitations, goody bags and sometimes even the food.  But what has not changed is the gifting process.

Take a typical conversation with invited guest (another mom or a family member):

Question: “What does your child like?”

Answer: “Everything” or “Nothing under $50”.

Question:  “What does your child need?”

Answer: “Nothing, mom/dad/grandparents buys them everything they need” or, “Nothing, they have too much stuff!”

The end result?  What us moms end up doing…

  1. Uh oh, totally forgot about the party and thinks where can I go in a two-mile radius and buy a gift?
  2. I’ll go stock up on gifts from the local discount store.  The toys either contain 1000+ pieces smaller than a pea or crafts that take an engineer to build but at least I have an inventory when I get an invitation.
  3. A gift card because everyone shops at this store.
  4. Cold hard cash … because there is always an ATM in close proximity to the party.

Enter TripleTheGift, the online gift registry we created!! So Andrea and I, the two moms, of the business, said to each other “Let’s make this part of our lives easier.”  What if we could take away all the stress that comes along with gift giving for kids?  And it happens on both sides – – what to get the niece, the nephew, the neighbors’ kid OR to answering what our kids want or need to “please don’t bring another stuffed animal-lego-puzzle-etc into my house…”

So what could we all use???

  • Money.   Gotta have it, Gotta love it!
  • College Savings.   Who is on top of this?  Really?  Even the financial side of me can’t get enough into that savings account.
  • Charity.   Even though we want and we need, we are most definitely more fortunate than others and wouldn’t mind sharing with a good cause.

Three gifts.  Simple.

We tell family and friends that the kids are registered at  They look up the registry on the website and in less than 5 minutes, make a gift of whatever dollar amount they want.  The kid gets three gifts –a gift card to purchase that perfect gift, a contribution to their college savings plan, and a donation to a charity of their choice on their behalf.

It’s stress free; no worries on either side; no driving to the mall or to the post office.  It fits into our solution to “there has got to be a better way”.   Make it fit into yours!

I hope this gives you some insight into our make-it-better-less-complicated way of thinking.  Lots more to come!