Happy Surprises by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_1Everyone older than the age of three knows that there are two types of surprises, the good kind and the bad kind. Cars that won’t start, tests you failed though you thought you were prepared, jeans that won’t zip when they did a few weeks ago, and leaks in the roof are just a few of those disappointing surprises that life springs on us from time to time. Then there are the fun surprises like money found in pockets while doing the laundry, an unexpected rebate check in the mail, a special thank you note from someone you didn’t know appreciated your work, and other little signs that everything will be okay.

I’ve always enjoyed what I call “safe surprises.” There was a booth at our county fair that sold cheap costume jewelry and trinkets. A basket of “grab bags” sat on the corner of the table and I would save a few dollars of my spending money to buy one and  be “surprised.” Sometimes the thing I got wasn’t worth the dollar grabbagor two that I spent but that wasn’t the point. After I’d buy my bag, I’d sit on a bench to study the brown wrapping, anticipating what might be inside and this is what I spent my dollar on, this sense of excitement and anticipation. I wasn’t a novice so I didn’t expect a pony or something crazy, but I knew what the booth sold and I was rarely disappointed.

Imagine my delight when I recently found a new type of “grab bag,” all grown up and perfect for someone like me. Although I grew up in Michigan then lived in Chicago, Illinois for my early adult life, I now live in Georgia. In mid-February, just before the Great Home Flood of 2014, I read an article about a company called Georgia Crafted. Part of a state initiative to promote Georgia made products; this group buys select items and puts together surprise boxes. For a reasonable fee, you can join Georgia Crafted for one, three, or six months and have a new surprise box delivered to your door each month.

GeorgiaCrafted1I decided that to really give it a try, I needed a three-month subscription, and what a wonderful three months they were. The first box came and we opened it to find cookies, honey, syrup, and other wonderful products made right here in Georgia. Over the next two months, my husband, daughter and I anticipated each box with great excitement and we were never disappointed. There were jams and jellies, sauces and sweets, chocolate pies and hand-made cards. There were products with cute names like “Kiss My Grits,” a lip exfoliator made with real grits, and others that had won state taste competitions. There are usually five items per box, most of them full-sized and all of them wonderful. Once in a while there is something in the box that we won’t eat or use but these items make great gifts so it’s all good.

When the third month box came and we were all stuffing our faces with the most amazing chocolate chess pie, Mike said, “I can’t wait for next month’s box.” WilloGeorgiaCrafted2w nodded in vigorous agreement. I looked at their glowing faces and realized I had to buy another subscription, six months this time, for them. Besides, the next box was scheduled to feature products that won or were runners-up at the 2014 Taste of Georgia competition. Even though we didn’t know what would be in the box, how could we go wrong?

Side note: That box has since come and gone and we’re still talking about the peach pralines and sour cream coffee cake with caramel icing.

It might seem odd to have a regularly scheduled “surprise” but it makes my life a little brighter, and I am under strict orders not to open the box if it arrives before Mike and Willow get home. Besides, everyone needs a nice surprise now and then, even if you order it yourself.

You can learn more about me at:


Farwell-Shadowlands-Final Cover.inddAHE New Cover


17 thoughts on “Happy Surprises by Erin Farwell

  1. Oh Erin, what a wonderful idea. Surprises may not be my favorite, but what fun. I like the idea of having something to look forward to, and not know…maybe. Enjoy thoses surprises. Doris


  2. That’s an excellent way to promote a region, Erin. I often buy locally produced goods but they don’t come as a surprise like that in one package. I love the concept and I’m pretty sure I’d love the cakes and goodies you’re describing.


  3. That is a great concept! I was part of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) for a while, and the weekly (in summer) or biweekly (in winter) veggie & meat offerings felt like that. I never knew exactly what I’d get. And that meant that planning meals revolved around figuring out what to do with what I had instead of deciding what to cook and then going shopping. I stopped the CSA because I found (with the writing) I simply wasn’t getting to all the goodies in time, but I haven’t really gotten back in the swing of planning meals and then shopping for them. I like the figuring out what to do with the surprise goodies better. Fun post, Erin!


    1. Thanks, Steph. I keep thinking I should join something like the CSA but there are so many things someone in this family won’t eat that I hesitate. Thanks for stopping in. 🙂
      PS: Once again, love, love, love the new cover.


  4. That sounds like a delightful way to find out more about your state as well as surprise yourself. When I was young and when I got married, my mom, (and then me) joined a monthly craft club. Every month a different craft to make came in the mail. I loved the times with my mom, and then doing them by myself as a young adult, and the surprise of what was in the package each month. But the goodies you describe sound wonderful too. Now my mouth is watering!


  5. Now this is the kind of blog post I can sink my teeth into — especially when I think of the peach pralines and chocolate pies. I envy you, your husband and girl waiting for the box each month.


  6. Such a happy post, Erin. I loved buying those “Grab Bags” too when I was a kid. I couldn’t wait to find what the surprise was inside. I think the idea of Georgia promoting local products in this was is an ingenious idea to promote the state and its products. Thanks for the memories of the excitement of opening a “Grab Bag” and the anticipation it evoked!


  7. What a neat idea. Is it only for Georgia locals or do they ship? We can subscribe to local “farm produce” boxes, which apparently differ according to the season, but I haven’t heard of something like what you get. Yours sound a lot more fun!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.