Tag Archives: Miscellaneous

52 Ideas for Mother’s Day Gifts

  1.  Gift basket: cup and saucer, tea, cookies, and sweetener in a nice basket
  2. Foot care basket for the mother on her feet a lot: lotion, scrub, moisturizing socks, and fluffy socks in a nice basket or tin
  3. A gift basket with several of her favorite treats
  4. Gift certificate for dinner to her favorite restaurant and an offer to babysit for the evening
  5. Stationery and tea gift basket for the letter writer
  6. Wine and cheese gift basket for a romantic and/or relaxing evening
  7. Book or books that you know she’d like, with a book mark and a book light
  8. A weekend at a bed and breakfast for a peaceful, relaxing weekend on her own.
  9. Gardening set – there are a lot available on Amazon and in other online shops (as well as gardening centers in most cities, I’m sure)
  10. Take a class together (cooking, wine, computer class, whatever shared interest you might have).
  11. Handmade card from her children or grandchildren
  12. A letter describing all the things about her that you love
  13. For your wife: take the kids out for the afternoon and let her enjoy her home in peace and quiet
  14. A meal cooked and cleaned up by the children and the other parent
  15. List 12, 52, 365 of your favorite memories together.
  16. Clean the house.
  17. Give her a day at the spa.
  18. Cook Mother’s Day Brunch.
  19. Candy bars wrapped in a special, cute printable wrapper (there are some to be found online and of course, you can get creative with markers and crayons and plain paper)
  20. Really high thread count  sheets
  21. Egyptian cotton towels
  22. A notebook with letters between her and the children
  23. A hug
  24. A memory jar
  25. Box of surprises (little things that she likes, wants, or needs – wrapped individually).  Let her open one every so often throughout the day!
  26. Print out her favorite family recipe in a nice font, on nice paper and frame it.
  27. Ask what she really, REALLY wants for Mother’s Day.
  28. Take a picture each Mother’s Day and create a keepsake at some point with all of the pictures.
  29. Start a fun tradition to celebrate with the family.
  30. Order her favorite, hard-to-find treat online.
  31. New gardening tools
  32. New cooking tools
  33. Make tea cup candles (Here is a lovely blog with instructions (and all sorts of other interesting ideas, I might add): http://thefrugalgirls.com/2012/03/how-to-make-teacup-candles.html ).
  34. Fingerprint charm (here is an example: http://diaryofamadcrafter.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/fingerprint-charms/ , another blog that looks like fun!)
  35. Homemade flavored oils
  36. Box of sunshine (here is a good explanation, for those who hadn’t heard of this before: http://happymoneysaver.com/send-a-box-of-sunshine-to-brighten-someones-day/ )
  37. Gift box for the letter writer: stationery, stamps, envelopes, perhaps a seal with wax and a nice pen.
  38. Crocheted, knitted, or sewn cover for their cell phone.
  39. Take her out for tea or coffee and conversation.
  40. Let her do nothing for an entire day, if that is what she really wants.
  41. Take the time to really listen to her and make her feel special
  42. Make coupons: “One week of taking the trash out without complaint”, “One Free Housework Day on the Weekend,” that sort of thing.
  43. Craft supplies for the crafty mother in your life
  44. A movie, popcorn/candy, and soda in a large bowl for movie night
  45. Coffee sampler and a large mug.
  46. Decorate a frame and put your child’s picture in it.
  47. Take her on a picnic.
  48. Make a personalized gift: a calendar with family pictures, a hardcover book with pictures, a blanket with family pictures (I’ve used Wal-Mart for these and gotten GREAT results).
  49. Frame a child’s drawing.
  50. Take her antiquing in a quaint little town.
  51. Plant flowers for her in the flower beds.
  52. Make her lunch for a week and include a love note.

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Really Useful Websites (March 2009)

This month’s websites are a hodgepodge (as if other months’ were not).  I simply found sites that I thought had good or helpful information on a variety of topics.  There is no real method or theme for this collection.

First of all, I wanted more information this month on economic topics, such as recessions and depressions.  On those subjects, I recommend the following articles:

Then I decided I wanted more information on what sort of help is out there for people who are struggling for one reason or another.  (Gee, I wish I had had this thought some time back – I found a lot of helpful information.  I think I was too depressed to go looking for it at the time.)

  • www.virginia.gov – Ok, this is my state, so that’s where I started.  I had no idea some of these services existed.  There are sections on the site for citizens, students, and employees.  Under citizens, there is a section for community services.  My guess is that many if not all states have something along these lines.  These include:
    • 2-1-1 VIRGINIA:  provides easy access to information and referrals on child care, energy assistance, financial assistance and more.
    • Child care database:  you can search for licensed day care in your area.
    • Virginia Communities – a database of local resources.
  • For Minnasoteans (?), Minnasotahelp.info seems to have a wealth of information and resources listed or linked.

While looking the above mentioned sites up, I found sites that were odd, really amusing, or just caught my eye.  I’ve included a sampling for kicks and giggles…

  • Callinsick – well, the name really says it all.  From the site:  “Sick notes – provided.  Fake prescriptions – provided.  Tutorials for faking sick – provided!”  🙂
  • Sickday Excuse Generator – well, once I saw the first one, I decided to see what else was out there!  Good for a laugh!
  • Economic Assistance For Struggling Families Varies Widely
  • I Work With Fools – well, I don’t personally work with fools at the moment, but I certainly HAVE.  It looks like this site is no longer being updated, but it is entertaining nonetheless.

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Really Useful Websites (February 2009)

  • Presidential trivia in time for Presidents’ Day

o Kaboose.com – Presidents’ Day 2009 – I highly recommend taking a look at this site in general, but I found their information on Presidents’ Day, with activities for children, particularly appealing.  There are tabs for crafts, activities, printables, and “All about the Presidents”.

o Snopes – Presidents Day – now here is an interesting article on Presidents’ Day and all of the confusion surrounding the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln.

o Presidents USA – this is quite a collection of links to sites related to the presidents of the United States.  Some are better than others, but I think it is worth taking a little while to look around.

  • Romantic Gift Ideas

o Lovingyou – Need I say more than the name of the site?  There are “every day romance” ideas and gift ideas as well.  There are sections for Date Night, Romantic Travel, and Recipes for Two, and much more.  Well worth some time looking around.

o Romantic Gift Ideas – This site has sections for Date Night, Bedroom, Breakfast Recipes, Dinner Ideas, and Games, among others.  I found interesting ideas on making a bedroom a more romantic place, as well as some good romantic ideas.  I also like the fact that viewers can share stories – that is frequently a great source of inspiration!

  • Humor Sites (or humorous sites!)

o Roadside America – Ok, what’s not to like about this site?  If you are looking for oddities to go see, THIS is the site for you!  If you are looking for an offbeat vacation destination, what better place to start?  There are tips, visitor tips, maps, and a section on hotels as well!  Go browse!  There are even themes, including – and I shudder at the thought – two-story outhouses!

o Southern Humorists – I admit it…I’m a Southerner, so I might be JUST a WEE bit biased on this one, but I enjoyed browsing around this site.  It certainly provides enough material to fill the brief breaks I’m able to take on the computer for quite a while!

  • Black History Sites:  the sites or pages below contained a variety of information that I found useful and interesting.  I’m not claiming that I’m posting anything anyone couldn’t find easily – but I’m posting sites that I felt were well-done.  If anyone reading this has other suggestions, I welcome additions to the list via comments!

o About.com – African-American History

o Biography.com – 101 Facts about African American History

o History.com – Black History Facts

o Black Inventor Online Museum – a wealth of information!

  • Miscellaneous

o Mental Floss – stimulating! I look forward to a subscription in the near future!  (Well, I’m working on it – gotta find the time to read!)

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Resolutions? Throw those things out!

How many years have you set resolutions in January only to give them up within the first week or two? How frustrated do you get at setting them and failing so early to complete any of them?

Something I’ve found that works better is to set goals. I know it sounds like semantics – “resolutions,” “goals,” whatever – but there IS a difference. Goals are defined as “the purpose toward which an endeavor is directed; an objective.” Resolutions are defined as:

1. A resolving to do something.
2. A course of action determined or decided on”

The problem with resolutions is that they generally simply represent a desire to do something, to achieve something, but with no plan of action. As a result, a few weeks after setting your “resolutions”, you’re off the path completely. When you set up goals, you generally also come up with smaller steps that will help you achieve the goal – a plan of action. With a plan of action, you can see when you drift off the path sooner and decide more clearly if you need to adjust your goal or what you need to do to actually achieve your goal.

When you are setting your goals for the year (or whatever time frame you chose), consider areas of your life that you would like to work on, improve, or change.  Some areas frequently on that list include Work, Personal/ Relationships, Family, Social, Spiritual, Exercise/Weight Loss.

One method I’ve found helpful in setting up goals is to make “SMART” goals. SMART goals are generally considered to be:

S – specific, significant, stretching

M – measurable, meaningful, motivational

A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T – time-based, timely, tangible, trackable

S: are your goals specific, rather than vague? If they are too vague, there will be no way to know when you’ve achieved them. To make a specific goal, make sure that you include what you want to achieve, when you want to achieve it by, and how you will achieve it.

M: are your goals measurable? If they are, anyone should be able to look at your progress and determine if you’ve achieved your goal. For example, “I want to learn to dance” is vague and immeasurable; most of us are born being able to “dance” (i.e., rock back and forth to music). A smarter goal would be “I want to learn to foxtrot by January 1, 2010.”

A: are your goals attainable? That is, can you achieve them realistically? It is a good thing to have goals that stretch you, that take you out of your comfort zone, but it is possible to set your goal in such a way that it isn’t realistic. For example, a person with a goal of “I want to be a professional dancer in six months” isn’t likely to achieve that goal if he’s the average person on the street. A more attainable goal for the average person would be “I want to dance a waltz at my daughter’s wedding in six months.” On the other hand, don’t set your goals too low either – a goal should challenge you to some extent, otherwise you’ll get bored with it.

R: are your goals realistic? Are they results-oriented? Are they reasonable? If they aren’t relevant to you, to your purpose in life or your belief system, then you aren’t likely to achieve them. For example, you may love commenting on football games to your friends, but do you really have the knowledge of all the positions, the training, and so forth to fill the air during a real game? Or, you may really enjoy cooking and do it well, but do you really have what it takes to run a successful big city restaurant?

T: are your goals time-based? Do you have a time frame for each one? If not, there is no motivation to get moving, no sense of urgency, no reason to take action today. An example of a time-based goal would be something along the lines of “I want to read one classic book a month for 12 months” or “I want to read one classic book each month from January to December 2009.”

Regardless of what you call them, they can really be motivating and stimulating, if done properly! Go out … and DO IT!

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Really Useful Websites (April 2008)

  1. MajorGeeks.com – This site has a wealth of information. There are links to anti-spyware, anti-virus software, games for download, office tools, internet tools, things for Macs, and toys, among many other things. You do have to take a look at the links; some items are shareware, some are “free” (but fairly limited) and so on. Still, there is a nice selection of things for download there.
  2. 80s Nostalgia – It has a bit on fashion, a game, sound files, memories, and a message board.  If you love the 1980s – or remember it fondly – this is a great site to explore!
  3. Smithsonian Photography Initiative – an ongoing project to explore how photography changes our lives.  Currently, experts in the field are exploring how it has changed various disciplines like sports, medicine, philosophy.  Eventually, they will be taking submissions from ordinary people (as well as comments) on how it influences peoples’ lives.
  4. Strange new products – This is an amusing site that looks into the latest (and strangest) entries into the marketplace.  And to think I thought my DREAMS were weird; I don’t think my dreams have contained anything quite like these things.
  5. Dryer Lint Page – Wow.  Who knew?  There is a site devoted to dryer lint.  It includes a list of uses for it.
  6. What Should I Read Next – you can build a list of your favorite books and get suggestions on what to read next.
  7. Online Conversions – this site is very, very useful.  You can convert almost anything to something else.  It includes conversions of clothes sizes from one country to another, astronomical units, cooking units, finance calculators, speed, viscosity, and a miscellaneous category.  I recommend taking a look – or remembering the site for later.
  8. DaFont – lots and lots of free fonts for both PC and Mac.  I haven’t actually installed any yet, but there are a wide range of choices and it looks like it is easy to do.
  9. Liveplasma – good way to expand your musical and movie tastes.  You enter a name of a group or an actor that you like and it returns recommendations.
  10. Keybr – a website on which you can practice typing.  It has a game (the practice section), information on keyboards, information about the site.
  11. Language is a Virus – this website has many, many games to help you with writer’s block, as well as writing prompts.  In addition, you can post your work.
  12. Zoho – an online package.  It includes spreadsheets, word processing, presentation, notes, web conferencing, project management software, and more.
  13. Indeed.com – this is a useful site indeed (ha!).  It gathers job ads from various sources in one place.  I love it.
  14. iTools – this site has search, reference, internet, map,  and other tools on it.

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Really Useful Websites (March 2008)

This month’s tidbits (yes, I think some might just be a bit odd – but sometimes that is an amusing thing):

  1. Listography: Yes, I’m one of those people – I make lists. I make lists of lists. Naturally, I think this is a wonderful site. You can make wish lists, top ten lists, autobiographical lists, to do lists, and goal lists, among others. There is even a topic generator!
  2. For those who like jigsaws, there is JigZone. They have puzzle of the day, puzzles across the top of the page, and you can sort through categories as well. You can also upload your own pictures. On top of that, you can choose unusual cuts for the puzzle pieces, like USA, lizards, and bulbs!
  3. On a completely different, and more serious note, I found a wonderful site called CaringBridge. They provide free websites to anyone going through a health crisis; it makes it tremendously easy to update family and friends about changes, procedures, progress made, etc. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered the usefulness of this site through a cousin’s cancer crisis, but I can say that I have used this site and I find it wonderful. It makes it so much easier on the family – they post the update on the site and people who have signed up for updates get an email notifying them of the change.
  4. From Texas Women’s University, I found the following page: 52 Proven Stress Reducers. I found this page to be full of helpful suggestions and I highly recommend it if you are having stress issues.
  5. Grocery Lists – this is an amusing site; this guy collects lost grocery lists. He started posting the ones he found and it has led to an online “thing” – apparently people submit the lost lists that they find. It has some interesting things on it: the top 10 found lists, lists of gift ideas, selections from the book, etc. It is quirky, but worth a look at.
  6. Google Page Creator – this is a great, easy way to create a simple web page. I’ve got several now. I’ll grant you that I don’t think you can get terribly complicated with this, and for professionals, this isn’t what you want, more than likely. I think this is perfect for someone who wants to play around, to create a simple page just to see what it is like.
  7. Every Day Giving – do I need to say more?
  8. Off The Mark Cartoons – I’ve found this artist’s work amusing, and I have purchased items from him via CafePress. He, or the people working for him, have been very responsive. Really, there should be a cartoon there for any interest.
  9. The Arcata Eye Police Log – really amusing writing style for a not-normally-interesting thing. Really worth a look – there are frequent chuckles.
  10. A bowling score calculator – this can come in handy, particularly if you are taking a “physical education” class in college…
  11. The Family Car Web Magazine: I have found some good information here. I do have to say that I am not a mechanic, nor do I play one on TV, so … while take that under advisement. Still, I found this site very helpful.
  12. The Vermont Country Store – ok, I love this catalog and the site. I have not actually ordered from them but they have some GREAT stuff and a good deal of items that are “old fashioned” – i.e., they might appeal to older folks as nostalgic gifts! Then there is the humor aspect of the site. Just so much fun to browse. And I, as I said, love their catalog as well. (Hey, they’ve got “Body on Tap” shampoo – you know, from the 70s and 80s!)
  13. After the Baby Arrives: this is a CDC page and it contains links to information on all sorts of information that new parents may be interested in. They range from breast feeding information to vaccination schedule and child development.
  14. Moms On Edge – this is a blog and I found some helpful tips on organization in this post, but they also have a wide range of categories, including an “Ask Moms On Edge”, surveys, movie reviews, and behavior.
  15. Creative Homemaking: this site contains a variety of tips on organizing, from organizing menus for a month to clutter control, seasonal organization, travel and vacation, and kids clutter (among others).

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Really Useful Websites (February 2008)

My original idea was to share useful reference websites each month. While that is helpful and (could be) interesting, I have rethought that. I find enough offbeat, wacky, useful, fun, and interesting/educational websites that I decided I should change my focus and make it a bit broader. So…here is a bit of what I found this month:

  1. The Cute Project: a collection of all sorts of cuteness – great for brightening a day
  2. Backpackit: keep your notes, to do lists, idea lists, calendar online; good organizational tool
  3. Jackson Pollock – create a masterpiece online. Click on the screen to change colors. Press any key to start over.
  4. We Are What We Do – actions to change the world; this is a list to track actions that you are taking to make a difference.
  5. ASL Fingerspelling – allows you to practice American Sign Language fingerspelling
  6. Project Linus: this is a wonderful group that provides comfort in the form of handmade blankets/afghans (made by volunteers) to children (of a wide range of ages) who are going through or have been through trauma of some sort.
  7. MIT Opencourseware: MIT has a site that provides free lecture notes, exams, and other materials from over 1800 courses.
  8. The Generator Blog: this is just amusing on a number of different levels. You can generate all sorts of things from road work signs to Absolute Bottle Signs to calendars, cat names, and chocolate bars.
  9. The Elements of Style by William Strunk on Bartleby – very helpful for writers, students, office workers, and anyone who wants to improve their writing.
  10. The Chicago Manual of Style Online
  11. The Startspot Network: this is a great source for a wide variety of information. There are various “spots”, including LibrarySpot, MuseumSpot, BookSpot, HeadlineSpot, and GeneologySpot. Each one goes to its own page and contains links to other sources of information. For example, the BookSpot page has categories such as “Behind the Book” with information on authors, publishers, pod casts, and so on; “Genre Corner” with information on children’s books, romance, mystery, etc.; “Must See Sites”, “Genre Spotlight”, and so on.
  12. The Internet Public Library: Health and Medical Sciences: plenty of links to helpful information; obviously, there are also other categories than Heath and Medical Sciences.
  13. The Mayo Clinic
  14. Medical Dictionary
  15. Parenting Toddlers: helpful information for those raising toddlers

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