There’s just nothing like homemade gifts.

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The kind that you give.

And gifts that you receive.

I’ve written so many posts on hostess gifts, how to give, when to give, why to give, how to give a gift or a hug … I get mixed up when I try to remember if I posted certain ideas or not (the downside of blogging for 5 years – ha!).

This last week I roasted a LOT of tomatoes, which are coming on strong in our garden right now. The tomatoes are so good, my family and I literally sat at the counter and ate them right out of the pan. They tasted like candy, they were so delicious.

I decided to jar up the tomatoes and give them to a few of my friends (with a note to refrigerate and eat within 2-3 days). What a lovely little gift to give someone with a fresh baguette loaf!

Before we can or freeze, sometimes taking “fresh” is the way to go, especially when we want to tell a friend that we love them. And I love saying “I love you” with food.

Now, everyone has their own love language. I’m usually giving away something I’ve canned, like jam, applesauce, chutney, salsa, or Apple Pie in a Jar.

But a gift I received this summer was more than special. It was from my mom’s best friend growing up, who crocheted for my sisters and me beautiful hot pads. Our friend Vinnie didn’t even use a pattern, but just created it as she went.

I did ask her about her thoughts for us girls (since our mom is gone now) while her fingers were at work. She said, “I did want you girls to know in some small way that I love you.”

And then when I read this, I decided to not use the hot pad, but to tuck it away for my daughter.

“You girls are a wonderful memory of my wonderful friend.”

Enough said.

Small gifts that say I love you are important.

They let the other person know that we are thinking of them. And they are very special.

When’s the last time you gave a small gift to a friend, just because?

(BTW, since it’s now September, I’m so excited to say I’ve won a trip to the Food Network Wine and Food Festival and my sisters are coming with me to NYC. Thanks to the National Pork Board, the 3 of us will be attending this wonderful event the end of the month. Happy, happy, happy! We’ve never done anything like this before, so watch out NYC! :) I also want to announce the 3 winners to the Clutter Rehab book … Amanda, Mrs. Bennett, and Kimba.)