Saturday, May 30, 2009

Appropriate Party Gift Giving Ideas

The warm Summer Party Season is here! The following is a list of appropriate and inappropriate gifts:

Appropriate gift giving:

  • An interesting, nice bottle of wine, champagne or liquor, maybe with an appropriate, theme or cute label. Lots of wines available with fun labels to choose from (over $9.99, yet under $20.00, please)
  • One thoughtful hardback book or a small basket of fun summer paperback books you know the recipient will enjoy
  • A decorative yet functional handleded umbrella
  • A set of lovely linen hand towels. Antique linen hand towels are inexpensive and have hand monogramming. Look for them all year at yard sales, estate sales and antique shows. Save them in your gift drawer, then pull out when needed.
  • Local, Regional or State gifts such as "Virginia Peanuts," "Wisconsin Cheese" or "California Wine"
  • An appropriate magazine subscription for one year
  • A homemade loaf of banana bread, rum cake, homemade cookies or family specialty recipe
  • A bunch of flowers from the Hot House, or picked from your garden in a decorative vase with a bow, or a small plant
  • A gourmet box of fine chocolates
  • Gifts for children

Inappropriate gifts include:

  • To arrive empty handed. Entertaining is very expensive, time consuming and challenging for the Host and Hostess. Be a good guest. Show some modicum of appreciation. Offer to help with the drinks, hang up coats, park cars, greet guests, do the dishes or clean up. Good guests are invited back time and again.
  • I disagree with Peggy Post. Unless one is upfront with the recipient, any "re-gifting" is thoughtless, rude and socially precarious for the giver because there is always that chance you will get found out somehow, someway. It is a smaller world than you may think. The recipient always inately knows because the gift is "dishonest," never quite exactly appropriate and is not from your heart. Plus, there is never a gift receipt enclosed and the "re-gift" always comes in a decorative gift bag with no box, or a box with old tape, old tissue paper, etc. I was a Bridal Consultant for 12 years and have a book's worth of horror stories not to be believed. A topic for a whole other blog discussion.
  • Knives or scissors (even if attached with a shiny penny, risky depending on the recipient's depth of superstitions).
  • Any alochol for a non-drinking household
  • Cash or a check
  • Junk gifts or cheap, old bargain basement wine or baked goods from the local supermarket everyone knows is on sale and the expiration date is about to expire.
Gift giving is NOT about having or spending money. If you are inbetween jobs, or just do not have any extra cash to spend, a simple card with a note of thanks will do. The card may be store bought or handmade. Gift giving is NOT obligatory, but one should show some sort of gesture of appreciation. Make and take time out to think about your gift you are giving. It is a reflection on you. Make it a nice reflection. The thought does count and does matter. Being thoughtful is not expensive, it just takes time.

Helpful Household Hints For The Summer - Bees, Mice and Men

To get rid of a hive of bees, very carefully (or professionally), place moth balls around and in their dwelling. Bees hate the smell of mothballs and they will leave. Also, any hive of "Robber Bees" will not come around afterwards to steel the remaining honey because the mothball smell lasts for many weeks.
To rid your house of mice, sprinkle peppermint oil or essence of peppermint around their dwellings. Mice dislike the smell of peppermint and will go away. Or you could get a cat!
For your Man's morning shave, fill a thermos with boiling water each night. The next morning the water will be surprisingly still quite hot for shaving.
Have a cool day!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A List one Dozen of Life's Lessons to Live By

Last week, I read a list of 45 life lessons a 90 year old woman from Ohio posted. I liked her list so much, I came up with my own list:
  1. Forgive everyone and everything always. Then forget it and move on. In 100 years, no one will remember or care!
  2. If others place judgement on you personally, simply say: "Only my God may judge me personally." Bullies who judge others usually are telling on themselves anyway and putting their fears and unhappiness onto you.
  3. No time for regret if you try your heartfelt best. Accept your life as it comes, get through the day, and move on.
  4. No time in life for hating anyone for any reason. Hating is a big waste of your valuable time.Their unhappiness is their own problem. Chances are, it is probably worse to be them than to talk about them. Don't waste anger and time talking about them either. It will exhaust you and your spirit.
  5. Do Not compare your life to others' lives. There will always be someone seemingly richer and seemingly happier. Your life is your own truth. If you don't like your own life, take little steps ahead daily and work hard to change it.
  6. Make peace with your past and move on. Talking and re-living the past every day will screw up your present life and future life.
  7. You do not have to win every argument each and every time. Agree to disagree. Agreeing to disagree shows respect for the other person.
  8. Save 10% of all and any money you receive. Save 10% of allowance as a child, Save 10% of all cash gifts given to you, Save 10% of every paycheck. Find and open up a "Free Checking" account at a young age and keep this account open forever. No need to tell anyone about it, ever. This money will be for you and you only. Money is independence, and having independence is having freedom.
  9. Use your fine wedding china, fancy linens, crystal stemware and flat silver. You cannot take it with you or send it ahead. Enjoy it and your memories of good times using it!
  10. Your job is not who you are. Your job is what you do. You can get another job next month. You can make more money next month. Your family is more important than your job. You cannot get another family next month, and the elder members of your family may not be there next month.
  11. Go through your closet twice a year and donate to a thrift shop, give away to a charity, or sell to a vintage shop all the clothing you have not worn at all, touched, or even thought about in the last 5 years. My entire closet, save evening gowns, is one pole no longer than the length of both my arms stretched out from my sides. Purchase only 2 complete outfits twice a year. Purchase the best you can afford and try to buy on Sale at 50% off, or more. July and January sales are the best! Pay cash for as much as you can. Do not invest in separates. The colors will never match up, especially Navy and Black. Purchase the entire outfit. If you cannot fit into your clothes, eat smaller portions and skip desserts and bread until you can fit back into your clothes again.
  12. Doing one nice thing by yourself, for yourself every day matters. One small piece of dark, organic chocolate; one decaf coffee after dinner, one chapter in a book; soaking in a 15 minute bath; reading a magazine; a 30 minute workout or walk, a 20 minute cat nap, 30 minutes of yard work or watching 30 minutes of sports. Take care of your emotional and physical health because no one else will.

Remember, you teach others how to treat you. Be good to yourself and others always. Enjoy your life because no one else will enjoy your life for you.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Memorial Day Remembrance

A Photo From my Forget-Me-Not Book. The Soldiers & Sailors Monument, New York City 1907. In remembrance of those fallen for our freedom.

A Poem for Mother's Day

From my Forget-Me-Not Book:

Here's to the happiest
Days of your life,
Spent in the arms
of another man's wife...your Mother.

Elizabeth Thompson
Lake Mohonk, 1905

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Household Tips regarding Handkerchiefs, Candles and Grease

To prevent Grease from popping when frying, place a little piece of bread or potato in the frying pan and fry it along with whatever else is in the pan. This act will also save one from having to clean up the stove top so much after frying.

No need to iron Handkerchiefs after washing if they are spread out on a mirror when they are still wet after washing. It will only take them a few minutes to dry.

Place a bit of salt around the tip of a candle before lighting it to prevent it from dripping. It will not drip at all. Amazing!