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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm Done Christmas Shopping

Don't be irritated with me, but I am done Christmas shopping. I think I've mentioned that I'm an obsessive organized freak, and I don't like things hanging over my head.

I've been doing this for years so I have it down to a science. Here's the method to my madness:
  • I make notes throughout the year of things I hear others saying they want or need. I also make notes of things I think they might enjoy based on their interests.
  • If I'm out purchasing a birthday gift and already have a Christmas gift in mind for that person, I buy it and store it in a safe place until Christmas.
  • In September I set a budget and make a more firm gift list by person.
  • I start deliberate buying by the beginning of October with the goal of being done by Thanksgiving.
  • I use the Internet - a lot. You can do some great comparison shopping online plus many sites offer free shipping.
  • I give gift cards. I don't think there's anything impersonal about it. Especially if I know someone really loves a particular store. Then they can shop on me and get something they really want.
  • I do my shopping in small batches. I love to shop but a day of marathon shopping is exhausting and unrealistic with a 4 year old.
  • I also do these things in small doses, starting early - make gifts, bake, and wrap gifts. The making gifts is a relatively new addition. I really want my son to experience giving his own gifts, so we made ornaments in October. When it comes to baking, I've found that cookies and candies freeze really well.
I hope some of these ideas will make your Christmas a bit less stressful. I've just found that doing a little bit along the way makes the doing enjoyable and the Christmas Season a time of celebrating.

On a funny note - my mom is great at early shopping. She usually starts for the following year right after Christmas. But there is one flaw in her plan - she sometimes forgets she has a gift and we get a bonus gift mid-year. I guess that works out well for us.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving at A Cleaner World

Given that I am a huge foodie, it should be no surprise that Thanksgiving Day is one of my favorite days. It should also be no surprise that one of my favorite memories from A Cleaner World is that we always looked for an excuse to have food. So when one year someone suggested that everyone bring in a dish so that we could have our own little Thanksgiving celebration, it wasn't a hard sell, and it became an office tradition.

The office staff is all female with the exception of Chris (Edwards, President) so we cooked and he bought a cake. We all liked that arrangement, except for the year the cake arrived late.

Over the years I enjoyed some terrific dishes but the one I remember specifically is sweet potato pie. I had never had it before, and LaMonica's grandmother made it for us -- every year. There's just something extra special about a dish that a grandmother makes.

Whatever your traditions - I hope you have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Care Labels - There For A Reason

According to an article on eHow.com, 4 out of 5 consumers read care labels before they buy clothing and follow the instructions when cleaning their garments. I clearly don't fall into that group of 4. If I see something I like, I buy it and worry about how to clean it later. When I share my laundry mishap, you will also see that many times I don't read the label before washing or finishing the garment either.

I share this information with hesitation as my mom purchased this sweater set for me, and I never told her this: that I failed to look at the care label that said "cool iron". After washing the set in cold water on gentle using woolite then laying it flat to dry, I proceeded to press it with a very hot iron. One touch to the fabric, and it melted onto my iron. When I lifted the iron, there was a rather large hole and iron print on the front of the cardigan. Note to self: read the care label BEFORE cleaning.

Many times the labels have all these crazy hard to follow symbols. Here's a link to a helpful chart that you can print off and put in your laundry room to help you avoid a laundry mishap.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Pieces of Give A Kid A Coat

When the A Cleaner World family started Give A Kid A Coat in 1987, they had no idea how important the program would become to the community. But not only is it important, over the years it has become special - almost like a Triad institution. I think the thing that makes it special is the way it brings all of us together to work toward a specific goal - to make sure that every child that needs a coat has a coat.

There are so many pieces to the program - folks that donate coats, A Cleaner World employees that stick around late or come in on Sundays to clean coats, the guys at The Salvation Army that drive the trucks to pick up clean coats, Salvation Army volunteers and staff that help those in need find that perfect coat, our friends at Fox 8 and 1075KZL that communicate the message. Each piece is equally important - if one were missing, it wouldn't work.

So thank you everyone for your contribution. Your piece is vital to the success of Give A Kid A Coat.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Every Little Bit Helps

Last month was Breast Cancer Awareness month, and chances are pretty high that you've been impacted somehow by this disease. I know in my life I've seen it closely three times and from a distance several times more. That's why when I see something like this, I instantly get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.


Their small contribution will be added to other small contributions and before you know it, lives will be changed. One thing I admire and appreciate about A Cleaner World is the way they help important causes in a behind the scenes way. For example, for years they've donated safety pins to the Susan G. Komen Triad Race for the Cure. When the folks at Komen wanted to list them as a sponsor, A Cleaner World said that's OK, we're just glad to help. I could site countless instances like that.

That little bit of support helps and all of our little bits together make something grand. William James said, "Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."
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