Small Business Saturday – Support local merchants in your community.

Small Business SaturdayIt’s Black Friday. Let the games begin. While I won’t join the madness of going shopping today, I will go out and support local merchants in town tomorrow (November 30). When you support local merchants, you are supporting your community.

In 2010, American Express developed the “Small Business Saturday” marketing campaign and I think it is pure marketing genius. Small business owners get marketing help on a national level and they don’t even have to pay for it. American Express comes in as the hero supporting the little guy (local merchant).

My Helpful Tips:
• If you have more than one American Express Card*, enroll each one to receive a $10 statement credit. * (Corporate Cards and all prepaid Card products (other than American Express Serve ®) are not eligible.)
• Buy gift cards at local merchants. You can use them at a later date or give them as a gift during the holiday season.
• Registration is limited so register today so you can enjoy this offer.

There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. I have copied the message American Express sent me which lets you know what you need to do on November 30 to receive your $10 statement credit.

SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES WHEN YOU SHOP SMALL®

Small Business Saturday® is a great opportunity for you to show your support for your favorite small, local businesses. Register any eligible American Express® Card¹ to get $10 back when you spend $10 or more at a qualifying small business location on Small Business Saturday, Nov 30, 2013.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

1. Register any eligible American Express Card online at ShopSmall.com. Registration is limited. Registration opens at 12:00 A.M. MST (Mountain Standard Time) on Nov 24, 2013 and continues until 11:59 P.M. on Nov 30, 2013, unless the registration limit is reached sooner.
2. Use your registered Card on Nov 30, 2013 to spend $10 or more in a single, in-store transaction at a qualifying small business location that appears on the Small Business Saturday Map. Online transactions do not qualify. To view the map, visit ShopSmall.com.
3. Get a one-time $10 statement credit from American Express within 90 days of your qualifying purchase.

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Teach your kids to be grateful: Put together a gratitude list.

ThankfulWith the Thanksgiving holiday this week, it is the perfect time to talk to your kids about being grateful and thankful for the many blessings in their lives.

Help the kids put together a gratitude list to focus on what they have vs what they do not have. In my opinion, it is never to early to start appreciating what you have in life. Here are some ideas to help your kids to start thinking about what they may want to put on their gratitude list:

1 – Play a “gratitude” game: We actually did this over the weekend. My husband, girls and I kept going around table saying things we were grateful for. I would say we did about 10 rounds and I was taking notes to help the girls create their gratitude list.

2 – Thanksgiving dinner table – As you go around the dinner table, have everyone talk about one thing they are grateful for this year.

3 – Letters to Santa – As the kids are writing their wishlist to Santa, have the kids include a “PS” which lets Santa know what they are grateful for this year.

Thanks for reading my post!

Be aware: Where does your food come from?

Fish from China
I am trying to cook more fish these days. Last week, I saw cod on sale and was happy to see the fish was sourced from Montauk in Long Island, NY. (I always ask where the fish is sourced.)

This week I saw flounder on sale for $3.99 in the weekly circular, but in my eyes I was not really getting a good deal. The fish was shipped from China. Really? We can’t get flounder in the good ole USA? What is that about? Did you know local supermarkets carry fish from Vietnam, India and China? Is it really necessary for fish to travel thousands of miles for us to eat? I don’t think so. Inquire and be aware of where your food is coming from and support local food producers.

Helpful Tip: On a positive note… If you are looking for help preparing healthy home-cooked dinners, the Six O’Clock Scramble (online menu and recipe service) is awesome! The “What’s for dinner?” question is so much easier to answer now. Big fan of the service…check it out.

Make the time to learn family recipes

image

This past weekend, we took some time to learn the art of making apple strudel. I had seen my grandmother make it so many times as a child, but never learned how to make it. My grandmother was a great cook and now that I am older, I regret not having made the time to learn some of these traditional recipes.

It was great to watch and learn from my aunt how to make the strudel. The stretching of the dough across a big table takes a lot of patience and love. I now know how to do it, but I will need to make it multiple times to learn how to perfect it. Getting the dough consistency just right and stretching the dough without tearing it is quite challenging.

Cooking with your kids can be so much fun. It’s like an arts and craft project for them. Start teaching them when they are young and let them learn from their mistakes. Making food together with your kids creates special memories and is a life long skill they will treasure forever. Make the time now – YOLO (You Only Live Once).

Peanut Butter and Nutella: A new lunch sensation?

Nutella and Jif

What to make the kids for lunch? The week usually starts out with cold cuts and ends with a peanut butter or Nutella sandwiches. My neighbor’s son introduced us to Nutella and peanut butter sandwiches. Interesting, I thought… The next day my daughter asks me for this new combo and we have created a new favorite lunch item. You never know where you’ll pick up a new tip.

The concept of Nutella and peanut butter is actually not so foreign… I had a flash back to an old 80’s Reeses peanut butter commercial.

I am glad to see Nutella is getting so popular in the USA now. It has been around for ages. In Europe, Nutella was their version of “peanut butter”. You do see peanut butter in Europe now, but Nutella was always the main staple..

Try out the peanut butter and Nutella combo – what do you think?

Teach your children the importance of the thank you note

Thank-You

 

The last few weeks have been busier than usual…my one daughter had her birthday and my other one had her First Holy Communion, but we had not sent out our thank you notes. We got them out this week….. Yeah!

It is important to teach your kids to be grateful and appreciative when someone gives them a gift. It will make them and the gift giver feel good about the acknowledgement.

Here are some twists on thank you notes. While the traditional handwritten notes are great, I feel these other forms are acceptable:

  • Video – (my personal favorite) – I have my daughter pose with the gift and tape a quick video with my iPhone – it gets the thank you out quickly and shows a little more effort than just an email.
  • Picture Card – If I have seen the person recently and took some pictures, I will print them and make a card. While many people like receiving these, the timeliness of going to the store, printing the photos can make this a less desirable option.
  • Phone Call – it’s really about the timely acknowledgement 😉
  • Note Card – there is nothing wrong with a classic “old school” paper card thank you. People really appreciate it and it is nice to open a thank you “snail mail” card

Thank you for reading this post!

Lands’ End – Buy quality clothing online with free shipping over $50

Lands' End

I love Lands’ End. Their website is so user friendly and they always have a deal. Right now they have a friends and family offer – 30% off and free shipping over $50.

I was chatting with another mom friend and we both agreed how fantastic the bathing suits are. There are so many choices for women who have great figures as well as for those who have fuller figures and need a little more coverage. (I realize it is pretty cold right now and you may not be thinking about buying a bathing suit, but they are fabulous!) I am also a big fan of the pima cotton night gowns, fleece half zips/jackets, winter boots and coats, etc.

Shopping on Lands’ End makes sense for busy parents: reasonable prices, quality casual clothing, free shipping and easy returns at Sears (Sears owns Lands’ End brand) = saving you time so you can spend more time with your family – happy shopping at Lands’ End.


Enjoy Local Theater with Friends and the Kids

BroadHollow Theatre

The BroadHollow Theatre in Elmont is the best hidden secret in town. Broadway caliber shows in my own backyard + adult/children shows + reasonably priced shows ($25 and $10 respectively) = high quality entertainment for me and my kids while saving time and money.

This past weekend, I actually went to the BroadHollow Theatre twice:

Fiddler on the Roof with my two good friends – I had flashbacks to high school when I tried out for the play so I knew most of the songs. It was such a high quality show, the cast received a standing ovation.

Wizard of Oz with my daughters – these children shows are an adaptation of the full story and consolidated into a little over an hour. They are perfect for children’s attention spans. For $10 a ticket, you can’t beat it. It is a great way to expose your children to theater, you’re not breaking the bank and it is close to home.

Local theater is the way to go and if you live in Nassau County, you should definitely check out the BroadHollow Theatre in Elmont. I am sure if you look around in your own town, you will find something similar. Enjoy the show!

Halloween, Easter and the Dentist

HalloweenHalloween and Easter – one thing both of these holidays have in common is candy. There is no way to escape it  – so let your kids enjoy it and then get the extra candy out of the house ! One idea is to bring it to work, leave it in the pantry area and coworkers will gobble it up quickly. You know what they say: “A taste on the lips stays forever on the hips.” Not your kids’ hips – lol -:)

Helpful tip from a good friend of mine: Schedule your kids’ dentist appointments right after Easter and Halloween. Your kids have to go to the dentist twice a year so why not schedule them right after the big sugar feast?

My kids love going to the dentist ! We visit Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City. A beautiful office, a wonderful dentist ( Dr. Stacey Reynolds) and lots of fun prizes when you are done.  I don’t remember ever asking my parents when I could go to the dentist again. I was just glad when the dentist visit was over. Who knew going to the dentist could be so much fun?