With graduation season officially upon us, celebrations from kindergarten to college are calling for creative gift ideas.  While slipping money in a card is always appreciated, there are all kinds of ways to commemorate the big occasion—for every age, at any price.  Here are 13 ideas for the Class of 2013 that start out simply and work their way up to extravagant…

  • Books – Dr. Seuss, self-help, travel guides, career-related literature or an address book can all be inscribed to become a keepsake
  • GREAT IDEAS FOR GRADUATION GIFTS!Photo albums or picture frames – customized for Class of 2013
  • Laundry basket filled with items for dorm room or new apartment
  • Business card case
  • Personalized accessory for favorite electronic
  • Tool box with basic tools
  • Engraved jewelry
  • Small appliance such as an iron, toaster oven, microwave or coffee maker
  • Camera, DVD player, iPod
  • Briefcase or luggage
  • Small refrigerator (especially useful for a college dorm)
  • Tablet computer or laptop
  • Trip or vacation to relax before going off to college or that first job

13 Creative Ways to give Money:

  • Write a check for $20.13
  • Fill a piggy bank – include change to make it jingle
  • Put it in a new wallet
  • Make money origami or a money lei (videos available online)
  • Disperse into several gift cards to favorite stores
  • GREAT IDEAS FOR GRADUATION GIFTS!Gift card to local/campus bookstore
  • Frame the bills “In Case of Emergency”
  • Fill a balloon with rolled bills
  • Tape bills together and decorate tissue box with school/college colors
  • Make a money tree
  • Use a single bill (any denomination) as a bookmark in a money management book
  • Fill a candy or keepsake box…and use bills as wrapping or decoration
  • Roll the money like a diploma and tie with a bow

Finally, don’t forget to write a warm, personal note in your card to the graduate with a piece of advice, an inspirational quote or simply your sincere congratulations.



“WHAT TO WRITE…” for Father’s Day

WHAT TO WRITE... for Fathers Day For the Fathers in Our Lives

Father’s Day is a wonderful time to remember the fathers and father figures in our lives. Whether they are the men we call Dad, father-in-laws, brother-in-laws, husbands, grandfathers, sons, or brothers, we look up to each of them in our own special way. Take some time to think about all the cherished moments you’ve spent with yours as you celebrate this special occasion.

Celebrate with Style

This day is more than just about remembering Dad and all that he’s done for you. It’s also about creating new memories; ones you’ll both look back on with a smile. And whether or not you’re giving your dad a gift, it will mean a lot to him to let him know how you feel in a personal message.

Memories Make the Message

So where to begin? Whether you’re writing a note, a letter, or simply adding some thoughts to a Father’s Day card, you can turn your special memories into unforgettable messages. Sometimes it’s as easy as focusing on one special moment–perhaps a trip you took together, or playing ball in the yard, or even getting that piece of advice that’s always stayed with you. It can help you personalize your message in a way that he’ll know it came from you. Or instead of one thing, perhaps it’s a combination of all the things that make him special…like his sense of humor, how he’s always been there for you, and how you’ve always looked up to him.

What to Write…

As you take some time to personalize your message, here’s the main thing to consider… nothing speaks like your own heart—whether the words are sentimental, sweet or even funny. The following ideas are included to help you start or add to your message—you can use them as they are, combine a few or just use the basic ideas to get you going.

 For Your Own Dad

(for males) Dad, you are the man I’ve always wanted to be…
(for females) Dad, I’ll always be your little girl…
For all the things you have been in my life, Dad…
You are the person I model myself after…
Dad, you put the super in hero…
You made my childhood memories the happiest they could be…
I am the (man/woman) I am today because of you…
To my friend, my mentor, my father…
Having a dad like you made growing up so much (better/sweeter/happier… 

For Any Dad

You inspire me to live life to the fullest…
It takes a special kind of man to make others smile from the heart…
Your love is as warm and bright as a sun-shiny day!
What makes your (advice/love) so special is that it comes from you!
You’ll never know how many lives you’ve touched, or how deeply your love has been felt…
You’ve been a mentor and a friend and you’ve made the/my world a better place…
My day is filled with hope and inspiration because of you…
Everyone should have someone as special as you in their lives…

For Husband

You are my knight in shining armor!
My life/Our lives would not be the same without your love…
You are my rock, my partner, my love…
For the man who helps make my/our world complete…
You fill my heart with joy, happiness and hope each and every day…
You are the compass on our life’s journey together…
You are the man of my dreams…
Lucky me/us–having you to love!

For a New Dad / Dad-to-Be

(for girls) Your new little princess is ready for her fairy-tale dad!
(for boys) Your new little sports fan is ready to cheer you on!
Love is on the way with your little one about to arrive…
Wishing you all the joy and happiness fatherhood will bring…
Your arms will be filled with a bundle of joy, and your heart will be filled with love…
Tender moments are right around the corner…
It takes a special kind of love to make a father like you…

More Messages

With warmth, love, and a special place in my heart…
Hoping you make the most of your special day…
Wishing you all the happiness you can handle on this Father’s Day…
With the fondest of memories…
With love comes laughter…
Relax, enjoy and celebrate…
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MAY 18  ARMED FORCES DAYSince May 20, 1950, the third Saturday in May has been celebrated as Armed Forces Day in the United States, which falls at the end of Armed Forces Week. These have been some of the day’s celebratory themes:

Prepared to Meet the Challenge.
Teamed for Defense.
Dedication and Devotion.
Freedom Through Unity.
Appreciation of a Nation.
Power for Peace.
Special Opportunity for Thanks.

To read this list and think of the 1.8 million people currently on active duty, along with over a million in reserve, it’s hard to imagine a day more worthy of celebration. In President Obama’s 2012 proclamation, he calls upon all Americans “to display the flag of the United States at their homes on Armed Forces Day, and I urge citizens to “learn more about military service” by attending and participating in the local observances of the day.
I also encourage Americans to volunteer at organizations that provide support to our troops.”

A Few Interesting Facts About the Armed Forces

  • MAY 18  ARMED FORCES DAYThe Department of Defense is the largest employer in the U.S. (more than Exxon, Mobil, Ford, General Motors and GE combined).
  • Less than 28% of Americans between the ages of 17-23 are qualified for military service; that’s only about one in four.
  • More than 200,000 women are in the active-duty military, including 69 generals and admirals.
  • The Navy’s bell-bottom pants were introduced in 1817 so men could roll them above the knee when washing decks, remove them quickly when abandoning ship or washed overboard, and use them as a life preserver by knotting the legs and swinging them overhead to fill the legs with air.
  • The Marine Corps motto, “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful) was adopted in 1883.
  • On an average day, the Coast Guard, among many other things, saves 10 lives, conducts 109 search and rescue missions, and seizes $9.6 million worth of illegal drugs.
  • The U.S. Air Force was part of the Army, called the Army Air Corps, until 1946.
  • The Air Force’s F-117 fighter uses aerodynamics discovered during research into how bumblebees fly.

Official Songs for Each Military Branch

Army:  “The Army Goes Rolling Along” (formerly “The Caisson Song”)
 Navy:  “Anchors Aweigh”
 Air Force:  “The U.S. Air Force” (“Wild Blue Yonder”)
 Marine Corps:  “The Marines’ Hymn”
 Coast Guard:  “Semper Paratus”

Test your military knowledge and learn more with this quick quiz:

And visit for a wonderful collection of patriotic cards, perfect for someone in the service or simply to share your American spirit.



EARTH DAY: Mood Board

Celebrating Earth Day!

EARTH DAY: Mood Board

The First Earth Day

Earth Day began in 1970 by former Senator, Gaylord Nelson, as a call to awareness on using and misusing the natural resources of our planet. It was embraced by twenty million people who already had concerns about sustainable environments around the world. Today, the movement has over a billion advocates who seek to help the planet go green and stay green.

Earth Day 2013

EARTH DAY: Mood Board   The focus for this Earth Day, April 22, 2013, concerns the face of climate change and how these changes affect people from India to California to Japan. Everything from endangered species, to once thriving ecosystems, to destructive hurricanes brings new meaning to living on our volatile planet.

What Can You Do?

We can all help. From kids to grandparents, there are things we can do. First of all, make a commitment to become part of the movement for a Billion Acts of Green. Check the website at You can make a pledge to recycle, reuse and help restore the planet’s resources. Start in your own home. Get the family involved and see what you can do to stop wasting electricity or paper products. Go around the house and make a list of the ways you could make a difference. What else can you recycle or reuse or restore? Keep each other accountable.

For kids, consider having a scavenger hunt in the house. Give them clues to try to locate the areas in the house where you recycle plastic, or where you reuse coffee grounds on EARTH DAY: Mood Board   your plants. Plan to give them earth friendly prizes or take them for a visit to the neighborhood park or perhaps go for a nature walk. If you bring gloves and a few trash bags with you, you can even help to keep the park trash-free. Or you can take left-over packaging from various items and make fun animals, spaceships, etc., that you glue, sew, or string together.

EARTH DAY: Mood Board

Other ways to become involved are to make
bird feeders, bird houses or bird seed cakes, and place them close by so you can enjoy watching the various birds in your neighborhood enjoy your Earth Day efforts. Or how about making plans to start a garden or plant a tree–great reminders that every day is really Earth Day and you’re doing your part to keep your world a better place to live.

A Few Earth Day Websites:


EARTH DAY: Mood Board   EARTH DAY: Mood Board   EARTH DAY: Mood Board   EARTH DAY: Mood Board   EARTH DAY: Mood Board   EARTH DAY: Mood Board


Getting Organized!

Getting Organized!

Someone once said, “If you chase two rabbits, both will escape!” Getting organized can feel like chasing rabbits…it’s time to pick one and go after it!

You can get organized! You just don’t have to tackle every closet, or every room in the house at the same time. If you set some goals, pace yourself, and stick to your plan, you’ll be back in control before you know it. Here are just a few ideas to help you get going.

  • Start with yourself. What is your attitude about getting organized? If life feels like it is always getting away from you, look at why that happens and see what you can change. Set specific goals, look at the appointments on the calendar, and step up to the plate to get things done and learn to say “no,” when necessary, to requests on your time.
  • Make a specific list. Maybe you’d like Getting Organized!
    to clean out the garage, or unload some of the closet clutter, or shred those papers in the office you no longer need. Set a priority and a time to get it done. Be easy on yourself. If it’s a time- consuming job, then set a goal for what you’ll do each week to be organized by month’s end. A priority list and a timetable will help you get things organized—one at a time.
  • Enlist help. Determine what other family members can do to help you reach an organization goal. Ask for a specific time and task from each person to accomplish their part. Perhaps someone can hold a garage sale or take items to a resale shop. Plan rewards. A family outing? A favorite meal?
  • Reward yourself! Celebrate each goal you meet. Maybe you’ve wanted new garage lights, but didn’t want to shine a light on the mess. Now that it’s cleaned up, make it glow.
  • Make it fun. As you go through the kitchen cupboards, look at the things you’ve
    Getting Organized!collected and remind yourself why you still own that silver platter from your anniversary or that stack of plastic plates with your college insignia on them. One gift is enjoying the memory, maybe evening jotting it down in your journal, and the other is letting go of something you no longer need.
  • Use helpful, organizational tools. Take advantage of useful tools like those offered at We can help you get organized by reminding you of upcoming events and dates that are too important to miss. Simply go to the“Reminders” calendar on the home page, click on “more” at the bottom and then start filling in those things you don’t want to forget throughout the year. (Major holidays are already filled in for you, but you can add others as well.) You can also Share Events with others, Request Events that you’re unsure of (like your Aunt Mary’s Anniversary), add your preferences for notifications and have reminders delivered right to your desktop! It’s one more way we help you stay connected to the ones you care about most.

It’s a New Year…why not make it the one you get organized step by step!

Here are some other sites to help you with your “getting organized” needs:

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