01.27.12 / Uncategorized / Author: TWGranE / Comments Off
Tags: childrens book, coffee, coffee pot, cookie, mouse, savings, shopping
It started simple enough. I went to get my first cup of morning coffee. I lifted the feather-light pot to my cup with ease only to discover that the water did not filter down through the grounds, hence it wasn’t my toning exercises making this small task easier, it was a broken small kitchen appliance that gave the empty canister a “lighter than air” (or lighter than coffee, at least) feel.
I went to the store with a tight-fisted budget and simple requirements. What a shock! With the cost of regular coffee peaking at $10 on sale, why would anyone want or need to spend hundreds of dollars on a machine that takes special filters — I like buying 200 for $1 at the dollar store. Heck sometimes I even use them around the house as cheap chip plates! — or machines that take special single-serve coffee flavors. These are around $1 a piece and although the coffee may be tasty, I’ll stick to the 12 cups I get with the 3 scoops of ground coffee beans.
So, I’m pleased as punch with my new 12-cup, auto-timer, name-brand, $15 coffee pot. It looks like a space gadget with so much chrome.
Then, it happens. I get distracted, and my mind moves on to more improvements. Our old sugar container looks pretty shabby next to our new jet-powered coffeepot. Then, of course, it would make the mornings all the better drinking out of shiny new mug. And I wonder if we’ll get enough income tax refund back to replace the counter tops? Now, what did I do with those magazine clippings of that breakfast nook?
For now I am content with the new coffee pot, but you know what happens “If You Give A Mouse a Cookie.”
For those who haven’t picked up a children’s book since 1984, “If You Give A Mouse a Cookie” was written in 1985 by Laura Numeroff. Its plot is about a boy who gives a mouse a cookie, then the mouse needs some milk, then a napkin and on and on through a series of events until they [ ** is this "they are" or "it is" back? The mouse is singular in the title ** ] for another cookie.
A fun exercise for your budding writer (or blogger) is to write your own circle story in the Mouse format. Download this fun enrichment guide that features a fill-in-the-blank teaching lesson designed for the classroom (along with other activities) based on this best selling childrens book.
12.29.11 / Uncategorized / Author: TWGranE / Comments Off
Party Supplies: If you have to by new, the best place to buy plates, napkins, cups for any party is the Dollar Tree, not General, not Store. This is the store where everything truly is only $1.
Buy clearance. Buy Christmas themed paper goods. You may be lucky enough to be able to purchase red or gold theme color pattern that will not make your New Year party look like Christmas (although I personally don’t care if I am still eating off of Santa’s cheerful face!
How did Grandma do it? Invest in dessert trays and a punch bowl set. Both are common enough at second hand stores and garage sales. I have my grandmother’s sets of dessert plates, and I love the special cup holder that my punch bowl cup fits right into. The dessert trays are great lap trays and make even lil smokies taste like exquisite hors d’oeurves.
Festive Decor: Out with the old: Get out the old items from other holidays. Poppers, sparklers, silvery star decorations from Fourth of July help bring in the new year with a bang and a sparkle. I love to motivate the kids to get the big pots and pans out and bang on them (outside) with the big wooden spoons.
Add a little ninny hollering and you have yourself a great time. This works until your children are too embarrassed to join you! Mardi Gras beads are great decor, hang them from the chandelier and backs of chairs.
How did Grandma do it? She cleaned. No fancy schmancy center pieces, no cluttering mess. She simply cleaned her house for company.
Confetti is everywhere, whether it is shredded paper, popcorn packaging or an evening craft project for the children, I can’t see spending money on something that you are going to throw and sweep. Unless you’re a rock star, then I’m all for having your photo imprinted on shiney paper and blasted to your adoring fans.
How did Grandma do it? She charted the sky and checked with the almanac to see how the crops would fair for the coming year. After all there is nothing as splendid as a star-filled sky to greet the New Year.
12.22.11 / Uncategorized / Author: TWGranE / Comments Off
Tags: Christmas, dollhouse, Special Recipe, Walton Farmhouse, Waltons
I recently had a day off. Did I spend it shopping, wrapping or baking up Christmas delights? No, well I was going to until I started watching a Walton’s marathon. What a wonderful afternoon and evening! My mind got a break from all of the hub-bub of today as I transported myself to Walton’s Mountain. Enjoy!
John Boy [Narrator]: Christmas is the season where we give tokens of love. In that house we received not tokens but love itself. I became the writer I promised my father I would be and my destiny led me far from Walton’s Mountain. My mother lives there still. Alone now, for we lost my father in 1969. My brothers and sisters, grown with children of their own, live not far away. We are still a close family and see each other when we can. And like Miss Maime Baldwin’s fourth cousins, we’re apt to sample the recipe and then gather around the piano and hug each other while we sing the old songs. For no matter the time or distance, we are united in the memory of that Christmas eve. More than 30 years and 3,000 miles away, I can still hear those sweet voices.
Olivia: What are we going to live on this coming week?
John: Love, Woman.
Elizabeth: Mary Ellen called us piss ants.
Olivia: Well you know better than that don’t you, Elizabeth?
Elizabeth: I don’t feel like a piss ant.
Olivia: There, you see?
Olivia: If John doesn’t get home soon with money, all we’ll have for Christmas dinner is my applesauce cake. We won’t even have that if I don’t get a move on.
Charlie Sneed: Ike, you got any Christmas cheer in this place?
Ike Godsey: I got a little of Miss Emily and Miss Maime’s recipe for snake bite.
Charlie Sneed: [Pretend a snake bit him] Hot doggies! I believe he got me just now. Looky there.
Olivia: What’s that you got in your hand?
John-Boy: It’s a present, Mama, from Miss Mamie and Miss Emily.
Olivia: Bootleg whiskey. Don’t those crazy old women know I don’t allow whiskey in this house? I’ve got young children in this house! What sort of example do they think we set here? You take it out yonder and pour it on the ground!
John-Boy: It’s not whiskey, Mama, it’s egg nog.
Olivia: [after pause] I ought to be ashamed of myself.
Whatever your special recipe is, may your Christmas be with loved ones, even the piss ants.
About photo: If your lucky enough to own The Walton’s Farmhouse, it is now worth $225-$300. The original Walton’s set was destroyed a studio fire in 1991. Estimated cost of $200,000.
11.25.11 / Uncategorized / Author: TWGranE / Comments Off
As if providing food, shelter and clothing for your children isn’t hard enough, sending them off to school can set back the wallet.
Just remember: Don’t take art (extra fees and the supply list will give you the extra aggression you need to paint like de Kooning. Don’t take wood shop (the price of that hand-made chopping board makes you feel like you’re headed for the chopping block). And Sports ? I about fell out of my chair when I heard that uniforms had to be bought new. And this is not to mention the price of admission, transportation costs and the price of an order of bright yellow nachos.
Attention and enjoyment for your child also come into play.
The old saying “Once you start something, finish it” still has its place. But times have changed.
Children have so many opportunities to occupy their time that if your child hates an activity, and every agonizing practice costs your family more time and money, why not find something that your child can commit to in the long haul — and live up to the spirit of finishing what you start?
A new smart marketing stategy for activities is to try them before you commit to years of anguish. Two that recently came into my hands are:
No. 1: Two free lessons on any instrument (available with an ad in the Wednesday, Nov. 23, edition of The Ottawa Herald). I’m totally taking advantage of this one. My daughter has a guitar she loves and gets it out to strum like a rock star. But to see if she truly is interested and disciplined enough to practice, I will totally take advantage of two lessons to see if she is ready.
No. 2: A youth basketball clinic. I have to admit my child is handicapped coming from a family of non-sports parents (I am embarrassed that we don’t even own a basketball). This offer is two free Saturday clinics taught by high school students. All before the deadline (and money is due) for a season of T-shirts, practice and games.
She really, really wants to do it, but I am not sure she is ready for the intense learning of dribbling, shooting and don’t forget the suicide laps. Two afternoon sessions will at least give her the feel for the sport beyond grade school gym and give us the opportunity to have that talk about stick-to-it-ive-ness.
I like this new marketing trend of try-before-you-exert-yourself-too-much. I would rather not pay for the lessons and practices if my child doesn’t like it or doesn’t learn from it.
10.26.11 / Uncategorized / Author: TWGranE / Comments Off
Nov. 5. It’s not a holiday. And, no, it’s not cyber Monday (BTW, it’s on a Saturday), and it probably isn’t your mother’s birthday.
It’s Bank Transfer Day.
This gives you enough time to check with your bank, if you don’t already know, exactly what fees they are placing on your money.
According to Consumers Union, an advocacy division of Consumer Reports, it costs banks 8 cents per debit transaction. So why have banks started charging an average of $5 per month to use your card (not to mention ATM fees, not to even think about not-your-bank ATM extra fees)?
This is the point that I can’t seem to get past, I keep thinking this is MY money and the operation of a bank is dependent on mine and YOUR money.
Operating on a cash basis is scary to me. I don’t want to see my money. I want it hidden away waiting to be transferred to all my lovely creditors, which by the way are mostly banks.
You’ll hear a lot of chat these days about Credit Unions.
Here is what I found out. Anybody can join a credit union, you don’t have to be a teacher or a union worker. They are not-for-profit, volunteer based, they do not pay taxes, they do not pay stockholders. You can get loans and have electronic banking. They usually charge no or smaller fees.
Estimates of savings by switching to a Credit Union are as high as $400 a year.
Nov. 5 is approaching. Take a look at your bank fees. Some smaller banks, like People Saving Bank in Urbano, Ohio, are giving their customers $5 a month to use their cards. What a great marketing plan. That would be an easy decision for me, if I lived in Urbano.