Archive for December, 2011

sanitation engineers gifts for the holidays 12 days of shopping pragmaticmom.com

12 Days of Shopping: Garbage, Mail, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning Person, Dog Walker (Day 8)

Best Gifts For People Who Help You All Year

For people who help you during the year, cash is king.  I think the rule of thumb is 2 weeks of what you pay them for a holiday gift.  In the case of people you don’t normally pay — Sanitation Engineers, Newspaper Delivery Persons, Mail Carriers, etc. — I like to enclose the money in a holiday card.  How much for them? I checked with Capability:Mom who really knows this stuff and she wanted to point out that mail carriers can’t accept gifts over $20 and that some towns and cities have ordinances about that. Read more…

529 college savings plans best, http://PragmaticMom.com, pragmatic Mom, financial advisor, morningstar advice

Best 529 College Savings Plans (from Morningstar)

Best College Savings Plans

I began using the  529 College Savings plans for my kids since nearly 10 years ago.  My first advice came from a CPA Mom Friend who had done exhaustive research on the existing 529 plans for her own child.  I just copied her and went with the NY plan even though I live in Massachusetts. (NOTE that you need to read the fine print when you go out of state as there may be additional rules as to how the money may be spent.   Read more…

Wool and the Gang, 12 days of Shopping, pragmaticmom.com

12 Days of Shopping: Do Good/Hostess Gifts (Day 7)

Best Hostess Gifts and Gifts That Give Back

Capability:Mom is posting today on lovely hostess gifts and frankly, she is an expert on this.  For my part, I am compiling a list of gifts that give back in some way but also have a “present component” to the recipient. They’re gifts that keep on giving. Read more…

Spain: children’s books, interior design, El Bulli recipe and more

Spain: Culture, Food and Books for Kids

The children’s books that I selected are old-fashioned from a by-gone era so I am spinning the rest of this post into the modern world.  We’ll start first with a dizzying tour of modern Spanish furniture, and then onto the hottest food scene in the world.  According to my favorite foodie snark, Anthony Bourdain, Spain is where it is at for the foodie scene.  Forget France, that is so last year! The maestro is Ferran Adriá and I have an easy recipe from his blog as well a few other fun things.  To finish up, we’ll see some Spanish creatives; architect Gaudi and artists Miró, Picasso, and Velázquez. Read more…

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12 Days of Shopping: High Tech/Low Tech Gifts (Day 6)

High Tech and Low Tech Holiday Gifts

I am so not an early technology adopter that it’s ironic that I am doing the High Tech portion of this category. Capability:Mom is much more technologically savvy than I am, but she has been assigned Low Tech.  It’s a year to stretch ourselves! Read more…

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12 Days of Shopping: Teacher/Tutor Gifts (Day 5) GIVEAWAY

Gifts for Teachers and Tutors

We have a slew of tutors to remember every holiday season, both Capability:Mom and I.  And by tutors, I use this as a catch-all to mean all the extracurricular teachers that do 1:1 or small classes with my kids for things like math, Spanish, Chinese, flute, karate, and the like.  Some moms also include teachers for group classes such as gymnastics and I always feel like a schmuck when I notice them giving beautifully wrapped gifts to them because I have failed to include them on my own list.  Ah well.  It is a crazy, busy time of year! (Day 1 gifts work well for teachers of group classes:  Granola and Granola Bars). Read more…

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Top 10: Best Interior Design Books

Best Interior Design Books

DesignTrackMind calls these beautiful interior design coffee table books “design porn.”  I found this great list on Casa Cullen’s wonderful blog and added a few from DesignTrackMind to get this Top 10 List …  interestingly, they like some of the same books!  Even if you are not in the throes of redecorating, these are fun reads. Read more…

holiday traditions recipe holiday card PragmaticMom

Our Holiday Tradition: Recipe Booklet Holiday Card

Our Holiday Gift Card is a Recipe Booklet

Our family tradition since 1997 has been to make a 12 page holiday recipe booklet as our Christmas & New Year’s card. I do this with my sister and her sister-in-law. There was one year when we opted for traditional cards; my sister had just had her first baby, and I had a toddler and infant. We received immediate feedback from our mailing list that this was not acceptable. Our friends wanted the recipe booklet. Over the years as each family has grown, we’ve opted for separate cover blurbs and photos specific to each family but the recipe portion is the same. Read more…

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12 Days of Shopping: Mom/Mom-in-Law and Dad/Dad-in-Law (Day 4)

Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law Gift Ideas

This holiday season, I am thankful for Capability:Mom who agreed to take the Dad/Dad-in-Law portion of this shopping challenge because my father and father-in-law have both passed on decades ago.  My husband is tough enough to shop for, but that is for another day. Actually, that is Day 9 during our 12 day shopping marathon! Read more…