Monday, November 30, 2009

We all have them on our Christmas list -- those people who have everything.
Or worse yet?
They don't have everything, but are impossible to buy for because nothing ever makes them happy.

At a loss on what to get these people on your list? Here are 10 gift ideas that they're guaranteed not to have...

1. Touch-n-Brush Toothpaste Dispenser (Because sometimes you're just too lazy to squeeze that tube...) $19.99 ("Amazing low price")

(Sidebar: Interested to black light that lever after everyone in the family has been pushing on it with their own toothbrush. I'm just sayin'...)

2. Anti-Snore Pillow (And if it doesn't work, you can always use it to smother your snoring partner with...) $99.95

3. Get off the Phone Excuse Machine (I always found that hanging up on people worked just fine, but that's just me...) $9.95

4. Big Top CupCake (Because nothing says "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" more than a cupcake as big as your head.) $19.95

5. Drop Stop (Because it IS really annoying trying to fish out those french fries you dropped in the car...) $19.95

6. Toilet Monster (Scare the crap out of your friends. Literally.) $16.95

7. Snuggie for Dogs (When carrying them in your purse just won't do anymore...) $14.99

8. EX Knife Holder ("Got an EX? Get The EX.") (Really, what can I say here?!? Um...available in red, too!) $69.95

9. Chia Obama (Because nothing says "Proud to be an American!" like growing grass on the head of your president.) $19.95

10. Fanny Bank ("Drop some loot and hear me toot!" and "Saving your pennies will be a real gas.") $14.95


Monday, November 23, 2009

So I finally get around to hanging my daughter's first birthday picture in her room.

She's 21 months old now. She'll be two at the beginning of February.

So, anyway...

It's a great picture of her with sticky pink icing hands and it's framed by a mat of signatures and memories from all her guests at the party.

Today I hang it in a prominent position in her room, right across from her bed and above the sofa. You know, where she can see it when she wakes up or comes into the room.

When Ella comes into the room I say, "LOOK HONEY! Mommy hung your first birthday picture! Isn't it cuuuuuuute?!?"

Ella's reply?

In a sob, "EWWWWW! The baby's hands are yuuuuuuuucky!"

She's totally preoccupied with it in her room and feels the need to declare, on the verge of tears every time she enters her room, "EWWWW! BABY'S HANDS ARE YUCKY!"

Kids these days are so ungrateful.
I think I'll leave it up just to torture her...


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Last night, we had chinese food. My favorite part of the meal -- like everyone else -- is the fortune cookie! (Hellooooo - bits of wisdom IN A COOKIE?!? GENIUS.)

Giddy with anticipation, I delicately break apart my cookie to find the following advice:

Behind an able man, there are always.

Period. That was it. ALWAYS WHAT?!?

Everyone knows the rule of fortune cookie etiquette -- if you get a fortune you hate, you get to choose another cookie.

(OK, you may not have known that rule of etiquette because, quite honestly, I just made it up. But anyway...)

Skeptically, I choose another cookie. I read it with a raised eyebrow.

Hubby: What did it say?
Me: The current year will bring you much happiness.
Hubby: Well you better get on it, you have about six weeks.

And just then?
The dog threw up.


Friday, November 13, 2009

I recently learned of a wonderful drive to help Afghan moms receive pre- and postnatal care on a radio show called Mornings with Brant.

Why is it so important to help Afghan moms?

Medical access is very low for Afghan women and still birth rates are very high.

The radio show is teaming up with CURE International to help raise funds for these mothers.

In addition to the care, the team is also raising funds to donate blankets for the mothers to take home with their new little one.

You can help with a monthly gift, or a one-time donation:
  • $65 helps a mom receive pre- and postnatal care and a blanket
  • $125 provides a safe delivery and a blanket
  • $250 provides care for two mothers and blankets
You can learn more or donate at the Mornings with Brant site. You can also call (877) 846-4978.

This is a great holiday charity idea for your group!

This little one just received a blanket on November 11, 2009.

Cure International is an organization that "provides physical and spiritual healing for disabled children in the developing world."


Thursday, November 12, 2009

I recently wrote an article Why not party for charity this holiday season? in my family entertainment column. It has gotten such positive feedback and shares, that I thought I would share some of the ideas here, too.

This is a partial repost from that column:

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. From now until the new year, most of us will take part in numerous family and friend holiday gatherings.

Why not make this year's gathering about helping others, too?

Most people don't realize that, for just a few dollars, you can make a huge impact on someone's life.

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child collects shoe boxes full of children's items to distribute to needy children around the world.

Have partygoers bring a small toy, gift or toiletry item for a children's shoe box project. Keep the kids occupied during the party by having them decorate the shoe boxes with coloring, drawings and stickers.

Operation Christmas Child shoe box drop-off dates are November 16-22.

Find a drop-off location area near you.

Angel Food Network

Angel Food Network provides food relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States. For around $30, your party attendees can assist in feeding a family of four for about one week, or a single senior citizen for almost a month.

The best part? There is no qualifying process. Anyone can utilize the Angel Food Network. You can help out a needy family or senior citizen that you know simply by ordering the food online, picking it up at your local host site and delivering it to that family!

Find a host site location near you.

Again, prepare your guests ahead of time. It's great to announce charity opportunities on invitations. Take suggestions from your party attendees on people to "adopt" as your Angel Food recipients.

These are just a few great programs available to help others this holiday season. You can also contact your local places of worship, city or county governments, and chambers of commerce to see if they are hosting charities in which your party can participate.

Have other ideas on how people can use their holiday party gatherings to help others? Share it by leaving it in the comments!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

A few days ago, I wrote a blog post about FujiFilm giving you 100 free prints of your pictures just for signing up for their free online site.

Unsure what to do with those 100 free prints (it is a lot...)? How about helping others with them?

I just learned of a cool new movement called Help-Portrait.

Check it:


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hey, guess what?

It's November already -- I know, who can believe -- and that means that the holidays are just around the corner.

And holidays mean buying or making gifts for others. Yes, the agonizing over what to get everyone. Spending money (that you probably don't have) on items that they may or may not be able to wear or use. What are you going to do (especially this holiday, when money is so tight)?

Have you thought about giving pictures this year?

Can you think of a better gift or a better way to let people know that you care about them than pictures of the ones they love? (And I know you have a ton of digital pictures that no one has ever seen. So do I...)

It sounds like a great idea, but unfortunately printing multiple pictures for many people to make into scrapbooks, put into frames or use to create other gift projects can be costly. In the current economy, we all need to be a little more frugal (whether we like it or not).

So get this -- is free frugal enough? If so, we found just the thing for you. Check out this great holiday (or birthday or anniversary) idea on the cheap:

At the end of October, Fuji Film started their See Here campaign -- a photo sharing website that provides you the ability to use your photos for web pages and a variety of other things.

Just for signing up for their free photo project site (where you can upload and save the photos), you can get 100 free 4x6 photos (shipping not included).

The terms are only one set of free photos per login. You must also redeem all of your free prints at one time.

To get your free prints, be sure to enter the promo code prints at checkout.

Not only can you store your photos on the site, but you can also create cool photo projects and put them on items like photo books, mugs, clothing, posters, pillow cases, stuffed animals, bags and a lot more.

Once you get your free pics, check out the local department store for a cool frame. (And you know they'll all be on sale soon!) Be sure to also check the clearance aisle. You will often find older frames marked down as they make room for the new inventory.

Picture calendars are also a great gift-giving idea. If you don't want to spend all the cash getting a calendar printed with the photographs, look for the calendars where you can insert your own photos. (I found some really cute ones at Target in the dollar bin about a week ago. Seriously.)

Voila! You have the gifts that keep on giving!

Don't forget about Fido or Fluffy, either. Pet owners love having their furry friends included in the gift-giving! These days you can find really cute pet-related frames at any department or craft store.

And trust me, in the end they'll like the picture gifts way better than the gifts like that Grateful Dead necktie or the giganto cupcake pan you buy from that infomercial, anyway.