Father’s Day Gift Basket Idea

This weekend is Father’s Day weekend in the U.S., and I’m sharing this post with Weekend Coffee Share.

Today, I created a “pop”-themed gift basket for my dad for Father’s Day. I filled this little plastic shoebox with interesting soda “pops,” some gourmet lollipops, and other “pop” snacks like Popchips potato chips and Popcorners popcorn chips.

There’s a few specialty items in here that might not be available everywhere in the U.S. (or outside of the country,) but you certainly should be able to take some inspiration and do your own version of this. I will take you through my whole shopping and basket-making experience and even share a few extra pop-themed gift ideas I did not personally use, but you might be able to use.

I do not call my dad “Pop” or even Papa, but if I’m in a silly mood, I’ll call him Papa (with the emphasis on the second syllable.) My brother goes by Papa to his kids and Poppop to his granddaughter, and there must be some other Papas and Poppops out there. Even if your dad is not Pop or Papa to you, it might just be a fun idea.

First, I went to a discount store near me for my basket. This discount store, called Amazing Savings, is not national, but you should be able to find plastic shoeboxes like this in Walmart, Target and similar stores and possibly even in a dollar store.

I happened to see a few other items that fit the theme while I was shopping here. First, I saw this poppable fidget toy.

It seems this toy tries to mimic bubble wrap. I know some people are crazy over popping bubble wrap, and I think this toy would be appropriate for an adult who happens to like fidget desk toys (and bubble wrap.) I didn’t think it was the best thing for my dad in particular. If you like this idea, it does seem like you can find similar items on Amazon.

I also happened to see another non-edible and non-potable item that I decided to buy … a silicone cell phone pop stand. It has a suction cup on one end and a silicone sphere on the other, for holding up a cell phone. I think my dad might make good use of this.

Then, I was off to the Kings Supermarket for some individual bottles of specialty sodas. Yes, I use the word “soda” and not “pop” for carbonated drinks. I realize that outside of the New York/New Jersey area in the U.S., nearly everyone else in the country says “pop.” It’s soda to me, but for a fun theme, I was willing to use that other term. If you live in an English-speaking country outside of the U.S., let me know in the comments what you call a carbonated drink.

Assorted sodas and drinks at Kings Supermarket

I picked out several of these. I’ll show you my picks later on in this post.

I also went to the snack aisle for some popcorn and other snacks with “pop” in the title. Of course, bagged popcorn or boxed microwave popcorn would fit the theme, but I went with Popcorners chips. My mom and dad really like these Popcorners chips, because it’s made with popcorn but has no hulls that can get stuck between teeth.

There were a lot of popcorn options, including kettle corn and sweetened popcorn.

Even though I was beginning to wonder how everything would fit into my shoebox, I picked up a bag of these barbecue-flavored Popchips. Poppables chips would work too or maybe even Pringles. Do you remember that slogan, “Once you pop, you can’t stop?”

Then, I remembered an interesting popcorn product I’d seen earlier in the store. This Lesser Evil brand had very unusual flavors such as pink grapefruit, lemonade and watermelon hibiscus. Both parents (and I) are adventurous eaters, but for this gift, I still thought it was safer to go classic. Still, I thought I would show you these unusual flavors.

My next stop was at Staples, the office supply store, just because I happened to remember from the last time I was there that they were selling some gourmet lollipops with interesting flavors. I wonder how many customers go to Staples just for lollipops? They didn’t have as many as they did when I was last there, but I was able to get a few. I picked up two strawberry shortcake flavors, one strawberry banana and another in party punch flavor.

Pop Rocks, if you can find them, might be a fun idea for a Gen X or Boomer dad who would remember them from childhood, but maybe not the best one for my octogenarian dad. Cake pops, either store bought or home made, are another possible idea. Popsicles, of course, can’t be left out, but you could leave a note in your gift basket, directing Dad to the freezer.

After this, I headed home to assemble everything.

Here, you can see the interesting picks I had for sodas. There are Stewart’s brand root beer and orange and cream sodas, a pomegranate and blueberry Mash soda, pomegranate GUS (Grown Up Soda) soda and Olipop strawberry vanilla sparkling tonic. This last one was a prebiotic drink that needed to be refrigerated. I live with Dad, so I wrapped this one up in a plastic bag and put it way in the back of the refrigerator to hide it. I’ll move it to the basket on Sunday.

I decided to go with specialty sodas. I don’t know if you will be able to find all of these exact brands and flavors where you are, but you can also go with tried and true favorites. One other source of some unusual, even nostalgic sodas, is the store portion of Cracker Barrel restaurants.

I found this 5×8″ index card and trimmed it a little to fit the side of my shoebox. I then found some markers and wrote this message on it, “Happy Father’s Day to my ‘Pop’!” and decorated it with balloon designs. I used wide packing tape to fasten the card to the side of the box.

I used the packing tape to tape other items into place as well, taping the lollipops inside the sides where they were sticking out visibly and attaching the bottles to the bottom to keep them stable. The bags do barely fit, but they can prop themselves partially inside behind the bottles, and a little tape helped there too.

Weekend Coffee Share — Cute Pets, Açai Bowl, Picnic in the Park

I’ve been splurging on Dunkin Donuts iced coffee (not pictured) this weekend, but the mug above, even though it doesn’t belong to me, represents two doggy friends that I was watching over the weekend.

My weekend was a really full one. I don’t think I could have squeezed much more in if I tried. I’m joining Natalie the Traveler and friends with her Weekend Coffee Share and jumping on a couple more applicable linky wagons. (Is “linky wagon” even a phrase? If it’s not, I think I just coined it.) I’m pinging Restless Jo and her Monday Walks, because my weekend involved a beautiful walk with friends in nature and Lisa Coleman of Birds Weekly because I got some photos of a swan and peacock in the park.

I watch French bulldogs, Theo and Remy, in their home from time to time. They are lovable doggies. Theo, though he looks so peaceful in this photo (and often is), is a little more exuberant and goofy.

Theo having a snooze <3

His Frenchie housemate, Remy, is just a little lady. I was noticing just by the way she prances through the grass in the backyard that she carries herself like a lady. Where Theo will tackle me with doggy kisses, Remy will just quietly look at me as I sit on the couch to tell me, “Pardon me, I would like uppies please. Give me a boost?”

Remy <3

They are good doggies. One of their owners told me once that she loves this breed, because Frenchies are lazy and snuggly. That certainly describes these two lovies.

I’ve also been dropping in to take care of a cat named Shultz, (a female in spite of the name.) She is a Scottish fold cat, and that breed is new to me. You can notice that her ears fold forward. Her owner told me that there is a Scottish straight breed and a Scottish fold breed that are closely related. They don’t know until kittens are born if they will have the fold or not. According to petfinder.com, it was discovered that “Any cat possessing one copy of the fold gene produced about fifty percent of Fold kittens.”

Shultz, the Scottish fold cat

Saturday, I went out and explored a relatively new smoothie place, Market 509 in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. One of the employees told me that they have been there since November 2020, but I only became aware of it a few weeks ago.

The unique shop is hard to define. They serve smoothies, ice cream, juice and bubble tea, but they also sell refrigerated vegetarian foods, Japanese snack foods, teas, tea sets and mugs and Japanese kawaii merchandise.

Japanese snack foods at Market 509

Some cutesy “kawaii” merchandise …

I tried an açai bowl for the first time. Well, previously, I tried a Dole brand version from the frozen food aisle, but it wasn’t quite the same experience. Açai berries are one of those trendy superfoods that have a lot of health benefits. They have a lot of antioxidants, fatty acids similar to olive oil, anthocyanins that can help lower cholesterol, Vitamin C and phytochemicals that can fight the growth of cancer cells.

I have never seen fresh açai berries sold in the U.S. My smoothie bowl was a mixture of berries and banana with açai powder added to it. There were two choices of açai bowls, Berry Blast and Pacific Twist. With it, you could choose four toppings and a drizzle. I ordered the Berry Blast with a mixture of banana, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, apple juice and açai powder. For my toppings, I chose strawberries, bananas, coconut flakes and mochi. Mochi, for those who might not be familiar, is a sweet Japanese snack made from glutinous rice. I thought mine had the look and texture of marshmallow. I chose Nutella as my drizzle.

This was the work of art that was delivered to me.

My Berry Blast açai bowl at Market 509

And it came on a cute little tray …


This was my Saturday lunch. It was refreshing in the hot weather, full of nutrition and, very likely, had enough calories in it to make it a meal.

On Sunday, I fit in a lot and did a lot of driving all over creation (or, at least, parts of New Jersey.) I took care of doggy breakfast, pills and potty time back at the house where I was staying, drove about 20 minutes to take care of Miss Shultz and get her breakfast and then drove almost an hour (normally a half hour drive) to Sunday morning church. I thought I would be late, but I was actually early. 😛

My friend Adrienne planned a picnic lunch with friends at the James A McFaul Environmental Center in Wyckoff, New Jersey. Although this park is in the vicinity of church, first, I had to drive back to the doggies, give them some lunch, another potty break and bye bye kisses and then pack up my things, as the owners were due home that afternoon.

I was on a bit of a tight schedule, so I had half of my picnic lunch at the house. I thought I would be too late to picnic and might just join friends for the walk afterwards. It wasn’t too convenient to do “home-made” while house sitting, so I picked up some things at the Kings Supermarket: a tomato, mozzarella and basil sandwich on ficelle bread (I would have called it a baguette,) some Stacy’s pita chips and a Mash soda made with natural pomegranate and blueberry juices.

tomato, mozzarella, basil sandwich

It turns out friends were still picnicking when I arrived. There were six of us girls altogether: Adrienne, Sabrina, Iris, Jin, Cindy and me. I ate half my sandwich there, some cantaloupe that my friend Iris brought and a frozen snack from Adrienne, a blob of vanilla ice cream encased in strawberry mochi. It was a bit of a challenge to eat as the ice cream was melted, but I managed.

The James A. McFaul Environmental Center is a lovely park that has 81 acres of land with walking trails, a pond and observation deck overlooking it, various gardens, a picnic area, a few animal enclosures and a building with educational nature exhibits. The building was closed, but we were able to enjoy the trails, observation deck, picnic area and more.

I saw this lovely peacock in an enclosure.

It’s too bad he did not fan his tail for me.

Before we even hit the trail, we saw this beautiful swan in the pond right outside the picnic pavilion.

I liked the looks of this foot bridge.

I ended up getting a few shots of my friend Cindy on the trail, because we were leading the pack.

I enjoyed these log borders on the walking path. For a bit, Cindy and I tried balancing on the logs just like we would have done as kids.

I noticed several trees with tangled jumbles of roots.

Cindy identified these interesting plants in the foreground as skunk cabbages. The area is sometimes swampy.

After we walked the loop, we took this boardwalk up to the observation deck overlooking the pond.

Lovely friends

We got some more views of our swan friend.

Sorry, Lisa. I missed the photo op to capture the swan along with ducks and geese in one photo. I guess the point of the challenge was to capture birds of different species together. Just as I was ready to do that, my phone announced that my storage was full.

Human friends are important too. We had a rest from the heat at the top of the observation deck.

So my phone storage was up to capacity at the end of our time there, and I missed the opportunity to photograph an adorable fawn on our way back. Thankfully, my buddy Sabrina did not have the same problem.