Friday, December 19, 2014
Here we are at the end of another week! Christmas is right around the corner, and will be here before we know it.
I'd like to share this story from KATHYJO56. She wrote, "I want to tell you a story that Jim told me. He was at a gas station down the street, and an old man was looking all around with a very confused look on his face. There was a man standing behind Jim - Jim was in the middle - and he said, "Sir, is this your 100.00 bill on the floor?" The look of pure relief on that old man's face was something to see. Jim was just so impressed that the one person who saw that bill on the ground was an honest and caring person. He smiled at the old man and joked, "Since it's Christmas, I will be honest and give you back your money." What a wonderful example of the Christmas spirit, even though Jim knew that man would have brought that lost money to the old man's attention anyway." It's so great to see the best in those around us.
Today's challenge has us helping a segment of the population that is very overworked, and most often, under appreciated, this time of the year. For most of the population, a cashier is someone you interact with here and there during weekly supermarket shopping trip, or that dreaded last minute trip to the grocery store. Sometimes you get nice ones, sometimes you get not so nice ones, and many times you probably don't even take the time to notice.
But as someone with firsthand experience, I worked for 7 years as a grocery store cashier in high school, and then to put myself through college. The job of a cashier isn't always an easy one, and those customers who give a smile and a kind word can really make your day. Whether you have a favorite one at a local store, or have a friend or family member who’s a cashier, here's some ideas for gifts that will show true appreciation for the work they do.
Day 19: Today’s Challenge is to Give A Cashier a Gift when (s)he is finished with your transaction.
If you would like some ideas, here are a few nifty, inexpensive ones for you:
1. Snazzy ink pens: How many times have you come out of a store only to find that the pen the cashier gave you to write a check or sign a credit card slip with is still in your hand? It happens more often than you might guess and cashiers lose more pens in one day that most of us lose in a week. A pack of colorful ink pens specifically for work will make their day. Not only will they enjoy having a little something different to separate them for all the other "blue inks" but they'll be more likely to remind you before you leave to please give their pen back.
2. Starbucks or coffee shop card with enough money on it to buy a large coffee, or hot cocoa, and a pastry for a snack.
3. Stress Ball: For every pleasant customer, there's usually a few who, for whatever reason, tend to be on the rude side. Cashiers have to be thick skinned, but everyone has a bad day and the wrong comment can really add a lot of stress to the job. A stress ball in a cool color is a nice, inexpensive gift that a cashier can keep hidden behind their register. Even if they laugh at it at first, you can bet that when their first difficult customer comes through their line, they'll be squeezing it like crazy.
4. Hair accessories: For a cashier, it's not all about style. Nothing is more annoying than when your hair gets in your eyes or clings to your neck on a hot day. Pony tail holders or headbands will help women keep comfortable from the neck up while a tasteful ball cap works well for a man. You might want to do some snooping first though and make sure that nothing you get them is against their dress code.
5. Manicure: A cashier's hands are constantly in motion and are seen quite often by the public. Giving them the gift of a manicure will not only give them a special treat, but they'll be able to appreciate it every time their fingers go into cashier action.
6. Visit with their Boss: This gift is one that will cost you nothing more than a little bit of time. Is there a cashier who always greets you with a smile? Goes the extra mile to help you find what you're looking for? Is just a cut above the rest? Ask to speak to their manager. There are so many complaints in the retail world that it's truly a breath of fresh air when a store manager gets to hear something good about one of their employees. Take them aside and tell them exactly what the cashier on the spot does that really makes them shine in your eyes. Many stores have recognition programs when a cashier gets a good commendation from a customer, but even if there's no reward attached, just knowing that someone had good things to say to them will truly brighten their day.
7. One Year Planner: Planners are usually thought of to be more for high school and college students, but having one in the work world comes in handy, especially for cashiers who usually don't have a set schedule from week to week and need to write their hours down. It's also a great tool for planning days off and vacations. Giving them a stylish one they can carry in their purse with them and it'll come in handy for more than just work.
8. Local Lunch Break: On a regular workday, most cashiers either bring their lunch to save money or, if they happen to work in a grocery store, the same old affordable fare they have to work with everyday. Give them a gift card to a diner or restaurant within walking distance of their workplace. Almost all fast food chains now offer their own cash cards and the opportunity to get away for their lunch hour would be a great treat.
9. Keep their Mind Busy: Besides lunch break, cashiers usually get another break or two in a regular workday, but sometimes find themselves with nothing more to do than stare at the four walls and wait for their day to be over. Small talk over a few trips can give you a good insight on what they like to do…if you ask the right questions. A novel is a great way to pass the time for the bookworm cashier. Sudoku, crosswords, or word searches are great for keeping both the mind and hands busy. Does your cashier like to draw? Some art pencils and a sketch pad will give them the tools and opportunity to hone their skills on those much needed breaks.
10. How about a gift card to a movie theater, so they can have a fun day with a friend or a loved one on their day off?
You can also give them something that you buy in the store while you are there. If you choose to do this ask them to place a paid sticker on it after they ring it up. Then you can hand it to them after you have paid and when you are ready to leave.
And finally, since today is said to be the busiest travel day of the year, here’s your video that should surely make you smile:
Thanks for stopping by! Jingle On!
Thursday, December 18, 2014
“Hot Chocolate can warm more than hands – it can warm a heart, too.”
“I don't understand why so many "so called" chocolate lovers complain about the calories in chocolate, when all true chocoholics know that it is a vegetable. It comes from the cocoa bean, beans are veggies, 'nuff said. ~ Unknown
And finally for those of you who still have too many things left on your To Do List. . . “Make a list of important things to do today. At the top of your list, write "Eat Chocolate." Now, you'll get at least one thing done today!” ~ Gina Hayes
Day 18: Today’s Challenge is to buy a large hot cocoa for a Salvation Army bell ringer.
10 Things Salvation Army Bell Ringers Want You To Know
• We aren’t judging whether you give…or not! I’ve always assumed some level of guilt if I didn’t put money in the kettle, that the ringers were judging me. This could not be farther than the truth! Bell ringers actually don’t care if you don’t give (keep reading!!). You don’t have to explain you’ve mailed a check in or that you gave last time, I promise.
• We aren’t judging how much you give! Have a pocket full of change? Fantastic! Found a dime when you got out of your car? Drop it in! Got a wad of ones you’d like to unload? Bring it! It is not the size of your donation that matters, we’re thrilled with every person who’s willing to give regardless of amount.
• We love eye contact and a friendly greeting. Speaking to Salvation Army volunteers is a gift in and of itself. We appreciate it. Especially for a lone volunteer, your kind words are good company. A simple “Merry Christmas” or “Thanks for what you’re doing” are perfect acknowledgment.
• Making eye contact and speaking is not a contract to give. Speaking does not obligate you in any way to contribute. Please don’t not speak because you don’t wish to/aren’t able to put money in the kettle. Remember, no one is judging.
• We like to hear your stories. Tell us about the time you volunteered. Let us know if you’ve ever benefited from the Salvation Army’s ministries. It reminds us why we’re lending our time to this worthy cause.
• We notice when you avoid us. We’re staring straight at the parking lot for two hours; we know where you’re coming from and where you’re heading. Really, truly, you don’t have to cut a wiiiiide path to avoid us.
• You give us great ideas. One man said he always carries a pocket full of change in every denomination–four quarters, five dimes a few nickels and pennies. “That way,” he explained, “You always have what you need when something requires change.” Simple brilliance.
• Giving teaches your children. The sweetest contributions came from the little ones. Their eyes twinkled. They delighted in the giving. And, if you take advantage of this visual teaching opportunity, you can seed a spirit of generosity in your children that hopefully will last for life.
• You, too, can volunteer! The Salvation Army would LOVE for you to volunteer! Check out your local operation and let them know your availability. Bell ringing is a fantastic family, friend, youth group or school club activity, but there are other ways to get involved throughout the year.
• If the bell ringer happens to be a friend of yours and she tells you she has to use the bathroom, for goodness sakes, take the bell out of her hand and relieve her so she can GO! This happened to a friend (who contributed some ideas to this post) who ended up having to wait until her volunteer relief showed up before she could use the restroom.
The Salvation Army has been around for over 130 years and it helps people in a number of ways; last year alone it serviced over 30 million people. What you may not realize is most of your money stays local, to help people in your community; and I read that 82 cents of every dollar goes to direct assistance, not administrative costs.
By the way, don’t forget to buy a cup of hot chocolate for yourself, too!
Here’s your video for today to get you ready for some Hot Chocolate:
Thanks for stopping by!
robindance.me/10-things- salvation-army-bell-ringer s-want-you-to-know/
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
A little reminder for today:
The unexpected kindness,
From an unexpected place.
A hand outstretched in friendship,
A smile on someone’s face.
A word of understanding,
Spoken in an hour of trial.
Are unexpected miracles,
That make life more worthwhile.
~ Helen Steiner Rice
Before I go any further, I have to show you the results of my challenge from yesterday. I had to run out to buy some gift bags at Dollar Tree, and look what I came across . . .
I filled it with Candy Cane Hot Cocoa mix, Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies, Candy Cane Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, a 4 piece box of Russell Stover Chocolates, a Chocolate Santa, and two miniature candy canes.
1CRAZYDOG wrote, “Awesome! My postal carrier is a single Mom, going thru some financial tough times. Left a card and a local grocery store gift card for her (I know she shops there as I see her there). I know she'll be appreciative, she's such a sweet heart!
And doing the same for the garbage collector. Do that every year. He is such a kind soul!”
ALOHAEV1 added, “Clever ideas. Our mail lady is a sweetie too and our two garbage guys are a hoot, they have been on this route for years. Last year they got their goodie bags after New Years, they got the biggest kick out of that. I'm going to do something extra for our lawn guy, he's raising two teens on his own and doing a great job.”
SPARKFRAN had this to say, “I added the checker at the grocery store since I shop for a neighbor, and ,my, she some how fixes things so we each get a print out if what we bought. Sounds silly, but not all the checkers will do that for you . Since I didn’t have time for soup yesterday, did have fudge calling my name and so packed it up and passed it on with a few cookies.”
Here’s your Challenge for today:
Day 17: Bring in your neighbor’s trash can when you get yours.
On "trash day" in your neighborhood, save your neighbor the trouble of jogging down the street to retrieve their empty garbage cans, and simply pick it up and bring it in for them.
It will only take a couple of extra minutes if you pick it up before or after you retrieve yours. Just move it out of harms way, up their driveway. Place next to their garage, and sheltered from the wind, if possible.
Also, pick up any stray trash that may have escaped the garbage truck and may now be littering the road, sidewalk, or their yard.
Are you watching the videos? Are you enjoying them? This is one of my favorites. It’s a little longer than the others, but well worth your time.
Here’s your video for today:
Have a great day.
Thanks for stopping by!
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Here we are in the final stretch just before Christmas. Hard to believe that Christmas is in nine days! Do you take your mail carrier for granted? I know I usually don’t give mine much thought because he’s just there. So today I’m delivering a little card and a treat to him for a change.
Your challenge for today is:
Leave a little something seasonal for your postman in the mailbox waiting for him.
I bought a small cardboard package and filled it with an assortment of small cookies, and some wrapped candies, and attached a card. Speaking of cards, this is a great way to recycle some of your old cards to decorate your package. Add a little nice ribbon and a bow, and you’re good to go. I included one of my “homemade” candy cane reindeer. I hope he doesn’t think it looks too dorky. . .
He delivers mail most of the day in our area. Apart from regular mail delivery, he will deliver stamps or boxes, or pick-up packages that need to be mailed, and leave a package on my stoop. And he does this in all kinds of weather, 6 days a week. Without his dedicated service, I wouldn't have any Christmas presents, or bills! Wait, that probably won’t happen - the bills would get here anyway - but, hey, a gal can dream can’t she?!
I don't thank my mail carrier enough, and so I am going to do that today.
Here are some really easy peasey ideas for you in case you need one:
• Fill a small box or decorative bag with Hershey’s HUGS and Chocolate Kisses, and attach a note that says, “Sending you some Hugs and Kisses for your dedicated service, and wishing you a Happy Holiday season”.
• A bag of Twizzlers with the note “Twizz the Season to Be Jolly!”
• A jar of Jam with a note, “Here’s hoping your holidays are jam packed full of fun!”
• A box or bag of Clementines with a note, “Orange you glad it’s almost Christmas?” Merry Christmas!
• Leave a Starbucks card with the note, “Thanks a latte for such great service. Merry Christmas!
You can make a little gift bag with a sandwich baggie, and some construction paper, stapler, and a recycled card. Oh alright, just go to the Dollar Store and buy one! Just so you know, this is not mine, I’m just using it for illustrative purposes.
So have some fun, and use your imagination on this one. Let us know what you decided to do. I think that's the best part after the giving - hearing what happened on your end of things!
Here’s your video for today to make you smile as you get your “jingle” on!
Thanks for stopping by!
Monday, December 15, 2014
We had so much fun making our homemade ornaments yesterday. I bought a box of regular sized candy canes, and we made some Rudolph Candy Canes for our tree. I used black peppercorns for their eyes and red M&Ms for their noses. For antlers I glued on Pretzel sticks. They were a little “primitive” looking, but cute, nevertheless! I used my “GoodSearch” and it felt good to be raising money for our wounded warriors.
Here is what KATHYJO56 had to say about the GoodSearch Challenge:
“Hi Sharon, I went and visited all of this before I answered your blog. I was totally amazed at what I saw. It is totally amazing how many wonderful causes there are and here is a safe place to check on those where you may or may not have an interest so that you don't get scammed. I knew ahead of time that I was going to take Charity Newsies in honor of my late Mother. Every year, they rent an empty store and fill it full of brand new clothes for all children, no matter their age. There are very few children that would not know that they weren't going to a real department store. They are outfitted with 3 complete sets of clothes, new shoes, boots, coats, hats, gloves, boots, underwear, socks, etc. They also have book bags and school supplies. They have been in existence since the Depression. They dressed my Mother and her 9 brothers and sisters and they didn't know until they were well into their teens that this was a charity organization. My second choice is wounded warriors in honor of my late FIL who was injured in WWII, in addition to all of the other service men and women serving our Country so selflessly.”
Today is Monday, and the week before Christmas. People are beginning to panic, and perhaps some haven’t even begun their Christmas shopping yet. We, on the other hand, are able to stay “cool, calm, and collected” because we have been doing this challenge! What could be more inviting than a ready made meal waiting when you get home after a busy day? So with that in mind, we are going to do just that!
Your challenge for today is:
Day 15: Make a double recipe of your favorite soup, and give half to a neighbor, a friend, or someone you know.
I am going to do mine in my crock-pot. That way while I’m out running errands, or doing whatever else I need to do, my dinner will be bubbling away, and need just a few minutes before serving to add the last couple ingredients.
Here is the recipe for one of my favorites. It’s a cinch to throw together, comes together in a flash, and who doesn’t love a steaming hot bowl of tomato soup? You could pair this with a comforting grilled cheese sandwich for the ultimate comfort food dinner, or a green salad, and a loaf of your favorite crusty bread. Oh my, my mouth is watering already!
La Madeleine Copycat Tomato Basil Soup
Cook Time: 60 min
Prep: 15 mins
4 cups canned whole tomatoes, crushed
4 cups tomato juice (I used Low Sodium V-8 Juice)
12 -14 basil leaves, fresh
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 lb sweet unsalted butter
salt, to taste
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
lemon juice (optional)
Combine tomatoes, and V-8 Juice in saucepan, or crock-pot.
If cooking on stove, simmer 30 minutes. If using crock-pot, set on low and cook for 3-4 hours on low heat setting.
Puree the tomatoes, and juice, along with the basil leaves, in small batches, in blender, food processor - or better yet, one of those handy hand-held immersion blenders, right in the cooking pan, or crock-pot.
Return to saucepan and add cream slowly while stirring constantly, and then the butter (in small chunks) stirring constantly until incorporated before adding next chunk, over low heat.
Ladle into heated bowls, and garnish with a couple of basil leaves, and serve with a loaf of your favorite crusty bread.
Makes 8 servings
Here’s today’s video to get you going:
Thanks so much for stopping by!!
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