During my lunch break I headed out to Rite-Aid to buy two boxes of cereal. I saw an ad on the front of the weekly sales circular for Lucky Charms and knew I had to buy some. I haven’t eaten the stuff in ages, but as soon as I saw the ad I began to crave it. The boxes are on sale this week for $1.99 and I had a coupon for $1 off 2, so I drove down to Rite-Aid to get myself two boxes of yummy Lucky Charms cereal.
I headed right to the cereal isle, grabbed the two boxes, and began heading for the checkout line, when a little boy and girl turned the corner. They each reached for a box of cereal and asked their mother if they could have them. I was about to walk around them when I realized that I hadn’t given anything away for the day, (I’m on day 14 of the 29 day giving challenge), so I asked the woman if she wanted a coupon for the cereal she was buying. She took the coupon and thanked me. At that point I looked at her cart and realized that I might have other coupons that she could use. Sure enough, I found three other coupons that matched the items she was buying. All told I saved her $3.50 and gave the gift of coupons away on day 14 of my 29 day giving challenge.
My husband thinks I should stop blogging about the 29 day giving challenge and get back to blogging about personal finance, so I’m combining days ten and eleven here.
My tenth gift was a gift to the environment. For the first time ever, I used all four of my reusable totes on a trip to the grocery store. Usually I forget to bring the bags into the store with me, but yesterday, I remembered all four of them. I managed to leave the store without using any plastic bags.
My eleventh gift was a donation to the Priceless Gown Project. The organization provides free prom dresses to young girls who could not otherwise afford them. I mailed two, pink, brand-new bridesmaid dresses to the organization this morning. If you are interested in donating bridesmaid dresses to a similar organization in your local area click here.
It just so happens that May 31st is my mother-in-laws birthday, so yesterday’s gift was a birthday present for my mother-in-law. I bought a very cute serving tray that can be used to serve chips and dip.
As usual I put off the shopping trip until the last possible second. Not only did I wait until the day of my mother-in-law’s birthday, but I lingered in the swimming pool until the last possible moment. (I hate leaving the pool on the last day of a week long vacation.)
My mom happily joined me for the shopping trip. As luck would have it we arrived minutes before the shop closed. Even luckier we found the perfect gift within seconds of walking in the store.
My mom is a whiz at the daily jumble, so I found an online version of the game and played with her for over an hour. The jumble provides four scrambled words that must be unscrambled by rearranging the letters. As a kid my mom and I played this game together on Saturday mornings and between the two of us we never missed a word. My mom can recognize the words in a matter of seconds. It is really remarkable. I was stumped by a few of the words this time around, but my mom figured out all but one of them.
For my seventh gift, of the 29 day giving challenge, I prepared baked ziti, a large garden salad, grilled chicken and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. I shared the meal with my parents, in-laws, close family friends, and my husband. It wasn’t anything too special, but it was a really tasty meal.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my dad is in need of a major overhaul to his diet and exercise plan. On the drive down to North Carolina I talked with him about our family’s concern. Since he was stuck in the car with me on a six and a half hour trip he had no choice but to listen. I told him that my grandmother and I recently spent an hour on the phone trying to devise ways to support his weight loss initiative. We talked about paying for a gym membership or a personal trainer. We even talked about hiring a personal chef that could teach him how to cook nutritional, make-at-home meals.
I told my dad that we love and adore him, (which he already knows), and that we know that he loves and adores us. I told him that we’re selfish and that we want to keep him around for as long as possible. My brother is particularly worried about my dad. My sister-in-law is currently undergoing treatment for brain cancer, so I told my dad that my brother doesn’t need any additional stress and worry in his life. This includes worry over my dad’s health. This thought seemed to motivate him more than any of the others.
So this week, while we’re on vacation, my mom and I started taking short walks with him along the bike path. Yesterday, while my mom and I were out shopping, my husband walked with him along the beach. I can tell it’s hard for him to walk. His breathing is quite labored and he needs to rest after a very short distance. I didn’t realize his physical fitness had declined so greatly. I don’t think he had this much difficulty walking last fall when we were on vacation.
It’s hard to motivate my dad without nagging him. I bought him a cookbook in the hopes of encouraging healthier eating habits. I know that diet is only half the battle, but after these last few walks, I’m more concerned about his health than ever. I’m hoping any little change will be a positive one.
Today’s gift wasn’t very original. I dropped off a bag full of clothes to a donation center. For the past few months I’ve been staring at a bunch of dresses that I haven’t worn in ages. The dresses all fit and have only been worn a hand-full of times, so at first I had a hard time donating them. I figured, since they still fit, I might wear them again sometime, so I put them in the front of the closet, where I could see them every day as I get dressed for work. Despite moving them from the back of the closet to the front I still haven’t worn any of them. So I folded all of the dresses, placed them neatly in a bag, and drove them down to the local donation center.
I estimated the original price for each item before placing it inside the bag. My estimated total was well over $500 for just ten items. I’m disappointed by the amount of money I’ve wasted on a bunch of barely used items, but I’m happy to clear my closet of unnecessary clutter and I hope that someone else will make better use of them.
Twice a year my parents vacation with my husband and I in North Carolina. While my husband is working on ‘fix-it’ projects around the house, my parents and I lounge on the beach chatting about nothing and everything for hours. My mom is definitely a night owl, and Sunday night after my father went to bed, my mom and I stayed up until 1:30 in the morning chatting.
My dad is a bit of a talker, so it was nice to spend some quality one-on-one time with my mom. It reminded me of my freshman and sophomore years in college when I would come home on the weekends to do my laundry and eat a home cooked meal. Somehow or another I could almost always guarantee that my mom and I would end up sitting on the couch talking long into the morning hours.
So my fourth gift of the 29 day Giving Program was time with my mom. One minute we spent giggling about nothing in particular, the next minute we spent holding back the tears, but for hours we talked, finally heading for bed at 1:30 in the morning. We probably would have stayed up longer, but as my mom said, “we get to spend this week together, so for the next six days we have plenty of time.”
I recently stopped acquiring freebies from Rite-Aid and CVS. Our cupboards and closets were overflowing with deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, and other toiletries. When I returned home from the drugstore one Sunday morning with yet another tube of toothpaste I decided I had enough toiletries to last me at least six months and temporarily suspended the drugstore game.
After looking through the cabinets I considered donating a bunch of my freebies, but I had absolutely no idea where to donate them. Then, as luck would have it, I found out about a troop collection point at a local hardware store in North Carolina. Toiletry items were at the top of the troop’s list, so I gathered up the freebies pictured above and dropped them off at the hardware store this morning.
I’m so happy to be able to give these items to the troops. I’m even happier to be able to supply these items at absolutely no cost to men and women who really need it.
For mother’s day I gave my mom a copy of Chicken Soup for the Mother and Daughter Soul. My mother is an amazing woman who suffers from unbelievably low self esteem. One day she said, “I may not have been good at much in my life, but I was good at one thing, I was a very good mother.” After a pause she then quietly said, “I was a great mother.” My mom wanted to have a family from the time she was a little girl. Having my brother and I was, and still is, one of the greatest joys in her life. My brother and his wife have recently blessed her with two grandchildren and as an adult I am now able to witness the care she takes in playing and teaching them. The same care she took raising my brother and I.
From as long as I can remember my mother has been interested and engaged in our lives, without being too interested or engaged. There’s a fine line between these two states of being and throughout my lifetime my mom has gracefully maneuvered the tightrope between them. My mother is a true inspiration to me, and if I am blessed to have children of my own, I hope that I can be as generous, caring, and loving as my mother has been and continues to be.
I was excited to find a book in the Chicken Soup line specifically for mother’s and daughter’s. I knew it would be a bit cheesy, but I also knew that my mother would absolutely adore it. (Truth be told I find those books quite inspiring.) Funny enough, I was so excited to purchase the book that I completely forgot that I had already bought my mom a mother’s day present. Earlier in the year I bought a beautiful blue salad bowl for use at casual family dinners. The book was a much better gift for the occasion so I presented it to her on Mother’s Day.
I figured I’d give the bowl to my mom for some other occasion throughout the year, but since today is the second day of my 29 day giving challenge I decided today was as good a day as any to give it to her. I presented it to her first thing this morning.