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Archive for December, 2012

Kwanzaa Gift Ideas

Monday, December 10, 2012 posted by Joan
Motivational Engraved Stone

Motivational Engraved Stone

Although, Kwanzaa was created recently, in 1966, this African-American cultural celebration focuses on the past, present and future more than other holidays.  Kwanzaa recognizes and celebrates African ancestry uniting people regardless of religion.   It is a celebration that all enthnicities and religions can learn from.  Gift giving during Kwanzaa is more spiritual than  other holidays.  Many choose to follow these guidelines:

  • Traditionally, parents give gifts to children.  Other family members and close friends may exchange gifts.
  • Gifts may be exchanged on the last day of Kwanzaa, but also may be exchanged on each of the seven days of the holiday.
  • Gifts are not given automatically.  They are given to recognize accomplishments, challenges overcome, progress made and commitments honored.
  • Educational games and toys, books, handmade presents, creative gifts and items that focus on African and African-American culture are ideal.  Motivational paperweights, with African-American and African sayings and quotes, are a meaningul gift that can be handmade.
  • Use the colors of Kwanzaa, red, green and black, when gift wrapping and creating greeting cards.

We wish our friends a Joyous Kwanzaa!

 

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Celebrating Chanukah

Friday, December 7, 2012 posted by Joan
Happy Chanukah

Happy Hanukkah Engraved Rocks

Chanukah  is almost here.  Have you planned your family Chanukah projects?  Here are some suggestions for activities that will help your family enjoy and also learn about the holiday:

  • Make Chanukah baskets for your friends.  Decorate the bag or baskets with symbols of Chanukah.  Fill with homemade treats such as gelt, mini-muffins, latkes, challah rolls.  Add a small menorah and some candles.
  • Hand paint some plain wooden dreidels.
  • Decorate river stones with Chanukah symbols and write Chanukah greetings on the stones using a fine-point Sharpie marker. Sign your name and write the date on the back of the stones.
  • Collect your change and put it in a tzedakah box.  Donate this to your favorite charity.
  • Play the dreidel game.  You can use real coins, chocolate gelt, marbles,  jelly beans or anything that’s small and plentiful.
  • Decorate an inexpensive fabric tablecloth using fabric markers.  Let guests write their favorite Chanukah sentiment with the date and their name on the cloth.
  • Gift giving has little to do with Chanukah.  However, many American-Jewish families follow the tradition of giving their children one gift each night.  If you follow this tradition, try to make your gifts ones that are connected with the holiday.

Happy Chanukah!

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WHAT IS THE FISCAL CLIFF?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 posted by Joan
Engraved Motivational Stone

Engraved Motivational Stone

What is the fiscal cliff, and how will it affect the average person if it should come?  The fiscal cliff is the potentially disastrous situation the U-S faces at the end of 2012. On December 31st, a number of laws are set to expire. If the Democrats and Republicans don’t reach an agreement before then, Americans could face broad government spending cuts and tax increases on January 1st.  Should it occur, take home pay will go down.  The essence of the political conflict is that the president wants to increase tax rates on wealthy Americans while the Republican leadership wants to increase tax revenues from the wealthy by reducing their tax deductions. Either would increase federal revenues. Also, Democrats want to wait to identify spending cuts.  Republicans want the cuts identified up front.

Taxes will increase for most taxpayers and businesses. The Bush-era tax cuts, which provide tax relief for many tax payers, would be gone. Government spending would be slashed. That means less money for most military, domestic and federal programs. $26 billion in emergency unemployment-compensation would be gone. Medicare payments to doctors would be reduced by $11 billion. If the fiscal cliff isn’t avoided, some investors will be hit hard. Those who receive qualified dividends could see the tax rate on those dividends go from 15% to almost 40% in 2013.

Therefore, I see the following scenarios… more unemployment, less doctors and a weaker national defense.  Let’s hope this does not happen.  Let’s send Congress messages of encouragement.

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FANTASY FOOTBALL QUARTERBACKS

Monday, December 3, 2012 posted by Joan
Motivational Stone

Engraved Motivational Stones

What surprises me most about the fantasy football QBs this year is just how good RG3 and Payton Manning are.  Most folks saw RG3 as a great pick for a 2nd QB.  Few of us expected him to perform like a veteran.  While Payton continues to produce like he did 5 years ago,  it is truly amazing what a man with pinched nerves in his neck has done with an entirely new team including a new group of receivers.

For many years, there were elite hook-ups and we never really knew if the QB made the receiver, of if the receivers made the QBs successful.  It is clear, that in the case of Payton Manning, quality receivers move up to the next level because the field general knows who they are, where they are and when to throw to them.  RG3 and Manning also know how to release the ball successfully.  I expect that next year, these two guys will move up to the top seven QB picks while Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan will move down a bit.  Philip Rivers did not earn any engraved River stones during 2012.

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