Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Birthdays in the Family Museum

Today is my daughter’s birthday.
We are going to celebrate it with all the traditional features: Birthday cake – she made a wonderful gluten-free Hummingbird cake (Southern recipe) and put as many candles as the cake could accommodate, however, we ran out of candles. Beautifully wrapped presents have been sitting on the dining room table, all with little clues as to what is in the package. Our family started putting clues on our Christmas presents and because they are so much fun to write and figure out, it adds another dimension of anticipation. For dinner, her father is going to grill some spare ribs. During cocktail time, she will open her gifts. Then we will have dinner and watch Dancing with the Stars, one of our favorite TV shows. Then we will light the candles, sing Happy Birthday and devour the cake. It will be another fabulous birthday and we hope to be able to celebrate every one of her birthdays.
So how do birthdays relate to a Family Museum? It is a great place to display and protect as many past birthday presents everyone received. Like most things that sadly disappear over the years, presents; birthday, holiday, Mother/Father Day gifts, graduation gifts, etc., are victims of taped-up boxes, given away and tragically trashed. My family is just as guilty for disposing things that we should not have.

But we did save quite a few, so here are some pics of some of those wonderful gifts that survive today and hopefully will be given as presents again.

Sesame Street just came on television, so when I found these adorable toys, Tiffeni played with them for years. The Playmobile dollhouse was a great gift and she played with it, adding floors and furniture. When Little House on the Prairie was all the rage, I found these little rag dolls that proudly grace Tiffeni's side of the museum.

So when you receive a birthday gift and any other gift and you don’t want it or use it anymore, don’t get rid of it. Keep it in your Family Museum as a reminder of happy times.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Keeping Parents’ Treasures

As you spring clean, be thoughtful of your family history, particularly when you clean out. I have been reading too often how the baby boomer generation is discovering that many of their worldly possession, the ones they painstakingly saved and preserved to be passed down, are being disposed of by no other than their own children they wanted to pass it onto. How sad is that!

This seismic shift of stuff is underway in homes all over America and I am sure elsewhere in the world. Yes, it is true many of the BB generation need and want to downsize their living space and give their things away. Unfortunately, many of the next generation; Millennials to be specific, don’t want the large dining or master bedroom suite. It just doesn’t fit into their transient life styles, small apartments or first homes.

Another aspect that is rather disturbing is how these young adults don’t seem to want their own possessions either. School yearbooks, trophies, T-shirt collections, toys, and all those adorable baby clothes the parents hoped their child would dress their baby in. But why, I ask? What’s wrong with revisiting those yearbooks? Why not save a few of those trophies they worked hard to get? Why not take all those quirky T-Shirts and fashion it into a useable item. And what about those baby clothes? Using them again saves money.

I recently read an article that said 20 & 30 year olds don’t appear to be defined by their possessions, other than their latest-generation cellphones. That they live their lives digitally through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, and that’s how they capture their moments. That their whole life is on a computer. And how they don’t need a shoe box full of greeting cards.

Even more distressing is how a 29-year-old estate marketer (I assume sells homes that will eventually be filled up with the very stuff she wants to get rid of, like old photos, bowls and cocktail glasses) would rather spend money on experiences. Just what does she think will help her remember these experiences if it isn’t stuff . . . souvenirs from a distant land she visited, photos of loved ones and friends that passed on, precious things her family cherished over the generations. And if this isn’t sad enough, her husband echoed, “I consider myself a digital hoarder . . .
if I can’t store my memories of something in a computer, I’m probably not going to keep them around.”   I ask, how can these Millennials be so shallow?  So short-sighted? So superficial? Is their family history meaningless? By time I got to the end of the article, I was fuming. When I read the last statement, I was downright smoldering.
A flippant professional organizer told a client, who should feel insulted, that the three large bags she filled of memories, one for each of her three sons . . . first-grade drawings or boxes with seashells glued to them . . . would not be appreciated. He said, “They made these things and gave them to you and you enjoyed them. The gift-giving cycle is now complete.” How can this so-called professional be so glib? So mindless? Perhaps he was never taught to appreciate gifts given and received? How will he feel when he is old and grey and finds he has no stuff left to reflect the life he lead. One thing for sure, he will have a difficult time healing from the initial loss of the tangible memories he gave away.

This brings me to the subject of my next post: educating the young on the principle of value.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Absence makes the heart grow fonder . . .

Hi to all my blog readers. As you may be aware of my two-week absence, let me explain why.  My family is planning a trip aboard and for the past two weeks, we have been mapping out our travel agenda. Mixing a family event with other destinations, doing the work of a travel agent is intense but fun. When we get back, I will share some of the sites we visited and how the souvenir’s we all plan on buying will ultimately reside in our family museum.  
Meanwhile, during this month of April,  not only did spring showers drench our yards and gardens, the pollen from the trees, particularly pines, is leaving layers of fine yellow organic dust on everything. I love opening our windows to let in the fresh air, but as the breeze blows in, so does the pollen. Gladly, it will be gone hopefully by the end of the month. Then the cleanup begins. Washing down the verandas, cars, outdoor furniture, not to mention just about every surface in the house. Because no matter how you try to keep the dust from coming in, there is no way you can eliminate it. Pollen is carried in on shoes, in hair, on clothes, grocery bags, even your pets! But alas, the pollen is not in our family museum. Keeping the doors shut does the trick. Yet, in the grandparent’s museum, not closed by doors, the pollen is everywhere. So I guess I know what I will be doing for the next week or so. Dust and sneeze, sneeze and dust!
Also, I want to blog about the so-called spring cleaning we all attempt to do. Most of that cleaning is necessary, however, when it comes to getting rid of family treasures, I put the dust cloth away and contemplate on the importance of keeping our treasures. I will address this thought this week. So put the boxes away for now and let’s take a good hard look at the memories that need to be saved, for that is what stuff is made of.

 Till then . . .

Friday, April 3, 2015

Money, money, money . . .

In recognition of Congress establishing the first U.S. Mint in Philadelphia on April 2, 1792 (yesterday), today’s post will be on coin collecting.  
In the children’s museum, Charlie has a box filled with nickels. These are not just any and all kinds of nickels, they are Buffalo Nickels that many look for but few can find because they came from the World Reserve Monetary Exchange.
In 2006, Charlie saw an ad for ‘bricks’ of 20 special rolls of twenty-five, that will increase with value over the years. Being new at collecting coins, he purchased the Buffalo Nickels and now they sit in their special box in the museum, along with other coins. After the 911 tragedy, he purchased National Collector’s Mint Silver Leaf Coin-Certificate commemorating that disaster which is in the museum.
Then recently I read this online article about the value of nickels. It said, The value of the metal in a nickel is worth six point eight cents. According to many, it’s the closest thing we have to ‘honest money’ . . .  and people are buying them up by the truckload.” So does this mean the nickel is a good investment? “Yes!”
It is recommended that people should stock up before the nickel goes out of circulation. Wonder why? The article said, “Because the prices of these metals have dropped . . . the melt value of a 1946-2014 nickel is just on the edge of four cents. Meaning, it’s down well over a third of the price. Even though the metal value of the nickel is down, it is still a good investment because Fiat (sanctioned) money does well in deflation. Unlike gold, nickels have government-mandated devaluation protection. They’re still going to be worth five cents no matter what. At the same time, due to their metal makeup, they are protected should inflation kick in too.” So I guess Charlie’s investment is a good one. And there is so much to learn about coin collecting.
A fellow blogger, Bill Harvey, has some tips on coin collection and preservation.http://www.home-museum.com/hobbies/Coins/coins.html
Meanwhile, here are some tips on how to stack up nickels:

Every time you visit the bank, buy some nickels.

Ask them how many rolls you can buy without getting charged. Ask for new “wrapped” rolls. You could find some nickels in those rolls with minting errors. Collectors eat those things up. And they’ll pay you a good return on your (non)investment.) If you’re a business owner, you’ll have no problems buying nickels from commercial banks.
Go to your local casino, if gambling is legal in your state.
It probably has nickel slots. Bring in a big container and ask to buy some nickels. If they haven’t reverted to completely digital, you could find yourself in the money.

Stop at local businesses.
At the end of the day, rolls of coins have to be dropped off at the bank. It could make sense to talk managers of stores in order to have another outlet to acquire coins.

Remember, all of this works great as lon
g as the new nickels aren't released into circulation. Once that happens, you will have the same problems you have with pennies; the need to sift through them to find those with the metal content.

Twenty five cents,
Money that rhymes,
Take one nickel
Add two dimes.
Three fat nickels,
One thin dime.
Makes twenty-five cents
Every time.
Five fat nickels,
No thin dimes.
Makes twenty-five cents
Any time.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Joy

Happy April Fools' Day! Celebrated every year on the first day of April, people play practical jokes on each other. The jokes and their victims are known as "April fools." Popular since the 19th century, the day is not a national holiday in any country, but it is well known in Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil and the United States. The earliest recorded association between 1 April and foolishness can be found in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (1392).

During this month, I will blog about some of the well-known as well as lesser known significant moments in history that occurred in April. Subjects will be on coins, books, diamonds (April’s Birthstone) and in particular, Spring Cleaning!

So I hope no one plays a joke or trick on you today. But if you are a victim of the April Fool, there is always next year to get back. Until then, have a nice day and I will see you tomorrow.