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Archive for March, 2013

Why Is April Called April?

Saturday, March 30, 2013 posted by Martin
Be Happy Greeting Stones

Be Happy Engraved Stones

April was originally the second month of the Roman calendar, before January and February were added in about 700 BC.  The traditional etymology (development of the word) is from the Latin aperire, “to open,” in allusion to its being the season when trees and flowers begin to “open”,  which is supported by comparison with the modern Greek use of anoixis (opening) for spring.

It is seen as an exciting month because people in the northern hemisphere anticipate the milder weather and joy. Relish the start of nature’s beauty as forsythia bloom and the deciduous trees develop their new leaves.  This is followed by cherry blossom season, the budding of bulbs and one of the most beautiful periods of the year.  As with stone engraving, it became permanent and the onset of April (April 1) is referred to as April Fools Day.  Enjoy April and read our blog about April Fools Day.

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Investing In Municipals

Friday, March 29, 2013 posted by Martin
Success Motivational Stone

Success Engraved Stones

I am a regular reader of Barron’s, a weekly newspaper which deals with investing.  Over the years, it has helped me identify opportunities to both grow and protect our money.

In the latest edition (March 18, 2013) there is an article discussing threats to municipal bonds.  They point out that states with high income tax rates provide an opportunity for investors living in those states to realize better net yields after state income tax.  To validate this point, the markets for states with high state income taxes (such as North Carolina) yield lower returns than states with no income tax (such as Florida).  However, in a move to attract industry, some states are moving toward lower taxes, or even eliminating income taxes. Higher yields produce lower bond prices and visa versa.  Should that happen, owners of municipal bonds from high tax states could see the value of their bonds decline in value.

If you are an owner of Munis,  you should discuss this with your investment advisor.  You might want to make some adjustments. Try reading Barron’s at your local library.  It is more valuable than engraved business gifts.


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Filing Your Tax Return

Thursday, March 28, 2013 posted by Joan

Some folks have regular tax preparers. Others use CPAs or  tax preparers like H&R Block to do their returns.  Some tax preparers are fully familiar with the laws and will get you all of the refund you are entitled to or  minimize your tax pay payment. Some will get you in trouble because they do a poor job of estimating the amounts you are not sure of.  Therefore, some taxpayers prefer to do their own taxes.  Here is some sound advice when you prepare your return.

Complete your return by April 5, not April 15.  That gives you 10 days to make sure everything is OK and to retrieve missing information.  As a retired CPA, I like both the H&R Block software and TurboTax.  Both are good for all but very sophisticated tax returns.  Look for things some folks miss doing their own return.  These include the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Education Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.  Don’t forget to deduct Child and Dependent Care expenses.  There is a great free book published by the IRS each year called Your Federal Income Tax Guide (Publication 17).  It answers lots of questions clearly. It is also available online at the irs website (irs.go).  Good luck with your return.  Also consider a good luck stone.


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Giving Sympathy Gifts

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 posted by Martin
Forever In Our Hearts Engraved Stones

Forever In Our Hearts Stones

At times, we are all faced with the experience of feeling sympathy for the loss of a loved one from an extended member of our family or friends.  We feel so strong, but find it difficult to express our emotions during the period of grief.  Actually seeing the people who suffered a loss and hugging them goes a long way, and much is expressed without saying a word

Gifts of flowers are appropriate (except among those of the Jewish faith); however, flowers are somehow lost with all of the other flowers and sympathy cards.  We would like to do something meaningful and unusual, but are not sure what is best.  Many folks make donations in memory of the departed because an acknowledgment is sent to the family.  Also consider searching the web for unusual sympathy gifts.  As an example, one can send or give engraved stones that are inscribed with the words “FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS”.  Some write a brief personalized message on the reverse side ot the stones,  and the stones are placed in the casket with the deceased or placed on the monument at a later time.   In any case, be remembered because you show that you care.

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Celebrating Your Partner’s Birthday

Monday, March 25, 2013 posted by Joan
Happy Birthday Greeting Stone

Happy Birthday Engraved Stone

Your spouse or partner is your best friend, lover, and partner in life.  What’s more important than to make his/her birthday a special and happy day.  A little advanced planning will make your partner feel valued and loved.  Since you know him/her best, you will know how your partner would like to celebrate.  Here are some ideas for making birthdays special:

1.  Surprise him/her with a greeting card, one of your favorite message stones, or a balloon.

2.  Give your partner a birthday gift.  It can be a suprise or something he/she has selected.

3.  Prepare breakfast for your partner or go out for breakfast if possible.

4.  Plan time together with your spouse doing whatever he/she would like to do. Giving the gift of time is more important than a present.

5.  Plan a special dinner.  It and be a family dinner, a dinner with friends or an intimate dinner for two.

6.  Bring out the cake.  No matter how old we are, a birthday cake with a candle, is a special treat.  Sing Happy Birthday to your partner.

Enjoy making your partner’s birthday a happy day.

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Kids Best Knock Knock Jokes

Saturday, March 23, 2013 posted by Martin
Success Motivational Stone

Success Engraved Stones

Here are ten knock knock jokes that your kids will love to tell their friends and grandparents.  They will like them even better than engraved stones.

K1.   Knock knock – Who’s there?
Orange –  Orange who?
Orange you going to give me a big hug?

K2.   Knock Knock Who is there?
Dewey Dewey whom?
Do we have to listen to all this knocking?

K3.   Knock Knock.  Who is there?
Ken.  Ken whom?
Ken you tell me some good knock knock jokes?

K4.   Knock Knock.  Who is there?
Luke.  Luke whom?
Luke out.  Here comes another knock knock joke

K5.   Knock Knock.  Who is there?
Jose.  Jose whom?
Jose can you see by the dawn’s early light

K6.    Knock Knock.  Who is there?
Doris.  Doris whom?
Doris is locked.  That is why I am knocking.

K7.   Knock Knock.  Who is there?
Hail.  Hail whom?
Hello, can you hear me.

K8.   Knock Knock.  Who is there?
Phillip.  Phillip whom?
Phillip the gas tank before you go to work.

K9.  Knock Knock.  Who is there?
Abby.  Abby whom?
Abby Birthday to you

K10.   Knock Knock.  Who is there?
Noah.  Noah whom?
Know a good restaurant near here?

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Answers to Peanut Butter Quiz

Thursday, March 21, 2013 posted by Martin
You're a Winner Engraved Stone

Motivational Greeting Stone

Previously, we posted some questions about peanuts?  Here are the answers.

1. Which two states are the largest growers of peanuts?  Georgia and Texas

2. Creamy peanut butter can be used to remove what from clothes and hair?  Gum

3. Who consumes more peanut butter, adults or kids under 18?  Adults

4. One acre of peanut crop yields about how many  pounds of peanuts, 1,500, 1,900,  2500, 2,900 or 3,600?  About 2860 pounds

5. The largest peanut ever grown was how tall, one foot, five feet, ten feet or twenty feet?  twenty feet

6. Peanuts are not actually nuts: they are what?  Legumes (beans)

7. Peanuts account for what % of the total snack “nuts” consumption in the USA, 20%,  25%, 50%, 67% or 75%?  67 %

8. An 18oz jar of peanut butter needs how many  peanuts to be made, 240, 380, 560, 700,  850 or 980?  About 850 peanuts

9. Which two presidents of the United States were peanut farmers?  Jimmy Carter and Thomas Jefferson

10. The average American boy eats how many peanut butter sandwiches before reaching the age of 18: 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, 2500 or 3,000?  1,500

How did you do?  If you’re disappointed in your score, next time you take a quiz keep one of your favorite engraved pocket stones in your pocket for good luck. 

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How To Cook a Butternut Squash

Monday, March 18, 2013 posted by Joan
feel good engraved stone

Feel Good Engraved Stone

Butternut squash is an odd looking vegetable but it is very tasty and very healthy.   It is also known in Australia and New Zealand as butternut pumpkin,  a type of winter squash.  It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. It has yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer. It grows on a vine.  Most folks don’t eat butternut squash because they don’t know how to cook it and don’t know what it tastes like.  Baked butternut squash is one of my favorite winter veggies because it is sweet and smells delicious.  Here is how to prepare it without using fat or oil.

Pick out a shapely squash.  It should weigh about 2-3 pounds.  It should have a nice even tan texture with no cuts or bruises.  The squash can be difficult to cut, so use a cleaver or a chef’s knife.  Cut off the bulb end and the opposite end.  Cut it in halves or quarters.  Remove all of the pits, but leave the skin on.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Make a solution of vanilla extract and cinnamon in about 3 ounces of water.  Pour the mixture into the bulb and over the sectioned squash and bake at 400 degrees for about 35 – 45 minutes (till soft).   Enjoy and keep this recipe under your favorite inspirational paperweight so you can easily find it.

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How To Feel Good About Yourself

Saturday, March 16, 2013 posted by Joan
  • feel good engraved stone

    Feel Good Engraved Stone

    Eat healthy.  Eat lots of fruits and veggies.  Consume small portions of lean beef, chicken and fish.  Drink lots of water.  Limit sugar and fat.  When eating carbs try to eat brown rice, whole wheat pasta and high fiber bread products.  Yes, you can have some treats but  everything in moderation.

  • Sleep at least 7 to 8 hours each night.  If you are tired during the day, take a short nap to rejuvenate yourself.
  • Exercise.  Walk every day or do another activity.  Include weight-bearing exercises and stretching in your weekly routine.  Try to do things that you enjoy.
  • Help others.  Volunteer at a hospital, soup kitchen, or school.  Help friends and relatives if you can.
  • Try a new activity.  Join a book club or garden club.  Learn to play bridge or canasta.  See a movie or show.  Take a vacation.
  • Maintain strong relationships.  Stay in touch and involved with your friends and family.  Remember birthdays and acknowledge achievements.  Send Christmas and Hanukkah greetings, as well as your congratulations and best wishes for celebrations.
  • Treat yourself well.  Shop for new clothing.  Visit the beauty shop on a regular schedule..  Pamper yourself with an occasional manicure and pedicure.
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Is Your Kid a Comedian?

Thursday, March 14, 2013 posted by Martin


Motivational Stones

Engraved Motivational Stones

Engraved river stones might get your kid to become theatrical, but so will these funny jokes for children.

Q17. Why did the football coach go to the bank?
A. To get his quarterback!

Q18. What is the biggest diamond in the world?
A. A baseball diamond!

Q19.  Why did the farmer collect only boy bugs in his jar?
A. He didn’t like ladybugs
Q20  What color is a burp?
A. Burple

Q21 Why did the man get fired from his job at the M&Ms factory?
A.  He was throwing away the Ws

Q22 Why did the little boy stare at the orange juice?
A. Because it said concentrate

Q23. Why did the hunter go home?
A. When he got to the hunting area he saw a sign that said “Bear Left”

Q24. Why is it that the jungle animals don’t play card games for money?
A. Because there are too many cheetahs

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