How to, who to and why write a thank you card

How, Why and When to Write Thank You Cards for All Ages

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How to, who to and why write a thank you card

How, Why and When to Write a Thank You Card

he proper ay to write a thank you note.

How, Why and When to Write a Thank You Card for All Ages

What do you think about a handwritten card?

Is it worth the time and effort in this day of texts, emails, face-time chats and all the other technology offerings today?

Just recently I received a card in the mail, and it was handwritten by my friend Melinda.

Not long after, I received a handwritten card that was also hand made by my friend Natalie.

Imagine my delight in opening those two cards.

One that was special in that it was created just for me.  And the other containing kind words of encouragement and appreciation.

Those cards are beyond anything that money can buy.

WHY is a handwritten card so remarkable today with all that can be ordered, downloaded and delivered almost immediately?

WHY is a handwritten card so special when we can also receive emails, texts and calls; that are good, well-meaning and inspiring.

BECAUSE when a person takes a few minutes to write something to YOU, that takes the small and simple effort of writing a card or letter, you KNOW they are truly thinking of YOU.


In this area, I need to readily confess, my sister-in-law Ruthann is my example and guide in this area of writing Thank You notes.  She and her family write them regularly and often.

When my kids were young and growing up, I did much better at helping them get theirs off in the mail when a gift would arrive, or after a birthday or holiday.  I even did alright some years later delivering them to neighbors for kindnesses done and help given.  But the last years have taken their toll on my energy, time and drained me of focus on some important details – this being one of them.

So how about if we learn how to write cards together?

We can practice them often by following the steps below.

Then become a better person as we show and express gratitude to others.  I put out the challenge to write a thank you note once a week, and not to the same person in a six month time.  Let’s see how we can do:) 


I personally believe that when we sit down to write, we are unimpeded by electronic devices to interrupt our thoughts, or to quickly pull up a meme to ‘speak’ for us.  As we sit with a pen and paper, we can reach deep down, think about what we want to say and how we feel, then put it on paper and feel the sentiment and thankfulness to that person as we write.

It’s a connecting and emotional bond between you and the person you are writing to. 

1-It is a way to strengthen relationships as you write to them about what they did for you.  It shows that you are deliberate in how you thanking them.  It means a lot to all of us in this busy world we live in.  

2- They can physically hold and re-read your thoughtful note. Feel the emotion that would be a hand-shake, an embrace or a genuine smile as you express your gratitude.

3- As we write more thank you notes, we feel more appreciative, more in-tune with our many blessings, and that makes us more joyful.  We are present and mindful of what we feel, what we are grateful for and the handwritten note is more meaningful because of this act. 

4- A big condition to writing a thank you note is not to expect anything in return.  Remember, this is about them, and helping them feel better about what they did.  You may never, ever hear from the person you thanked, and that’s OK!  Keep in mind this process is making us better and bringing us happiness to pass on to those around us – what could be a greater reward than that!?!


Are you ready?

The polite and proper EASY way to write a thank you note

How, Why and When to Write a Thank You Card for All Ages

Card to write a note of thank you and gratitude

The Purpose of How, Why and When to Write a Thank You Card for All Ages:

This is a really simple, but it’s important, it’s called KINDNESS.

We are going to write a THANK YOU CARD!

You know, to tell someone thanks for_______whatever________.

There are a billion reasons to say how grateful we are for a kindness and it’s never too late to express it!

Sometimes we may not always know what to say, or wonder where to start; so let’s get the how’s, why’s – and the WHEN is NOW.

How to easily serve others and show kindness

It’s So Simple with these 5 EASY Steps!

You only need TWO Supplies-

Paper and Pen, or whatever you prefer to write with.

  • I like a good pen that dries quickly, doesn’t skip and writes smooth.  THESE look to be a great fit. I like how many come in a package – mine always seem to ‘borrowed’ by my kids or grand kids. Having good pens set aside for this purpose is a really good idea so we don’t procrastinate.  
  • I have a free download Thank You card you can send HERE
  • A free download color-in Thank you card for your boys to send HERE
  • A free download color-in Thank you card for your girls to send HERE
  • My friend Natalie makes handmade cards that anyone would be proud to send and thrilled to receive.  You can find Natalie HERE 
  • Or if you’d prefer to order cards online, you might like THIS or THIS STYLE





  • Anyone of course!
  • Someone who helped you out
  • Anyone who could use cheering up
  • The mail carrier
  • A friend you haven’t seen in years
  • A neighbor who took in your garbage can for you
  • Someone who brought in a meal
  • Someone who shared a treat at work
  • Think of someone who made a difference in your life for good
  • Anyone who did anything positive!




  • Make sure you have the spelling correct of the names.  It’s so easy with social media to look it up.  Call your mom or grandparents if you can’t find it. Also, use the proper title when appropriate such as –
  1. Hi Uncle______
  2. Hello Aunt______
  3. Dear Grandma______
  4. Etc.  It’s really nice to have some recognition, and a little formality in its proper place. 




Phrases like these are perfect, to make sure the person KNOWS what you are expressing gratitude or thanking them for in this note; that’s the point, right:) 

  • You really made my day when….
  • I want to say how much I appreciate…..
  • Thank you for…….
  • It meant so much to me……




  • Let the person know you miss them
  • Tell them what an inspiration they have been to you
  • Tell them what a difference _____ has made (for good here) in your life
  • Thank them for the time they took to teach you in school, to cook, to learn to change the oil in your car, to fix the chain on your bike, in a 4-H club or other youth organization.  Time is precious and that they gave it up for you is a treasure.
  • If they gave you a gift, let them know how you will use it
  • If you stayed with them, be sure to thank them for their hospitality 
  • Thank someone for listening to you, taking time from their day to be with you, for being a friend
  • This list could go on for pages, but this is a springboard to hopefully get you thinking




These closings are generally acceptable in most situations –

  • Sincerely 
  • Many thanks 
  • Kind Regards
  • Friends

Other closings to consider as appropriate –

  • Yours truly
  • Warmly
  • Love
  • Affectionately 
  • Friends Forever
How to easily serve others and show kindness

Card to write a note of thank you and gratitude

That’s it, 5 easy steps to make a huge impact on someone else’s life, and you will be amazed at the enjoyment it brings to yours along the way.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2019

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today


Reduce, Reuse Post

Waste Not – Want Not

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Reduce, Reuse Post

 Keeping with this weeks theme of Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do with­out’. I have some ideas for reusing every day items:

  • Envelopes of all sizes can be reused by putting  a label over the top of the previous address, or used as a file folder
  • Plastic bags from the store have endless possibilities, such as:  garbage can liners, wrap around cords or other loose things to secure and hold them in place, use to discard pet waste from litter box or when walking a pet, and my favorite is to put a treat in it for someone and hang it on their door handle with a second wrap to secure it
  • Empty glass bottles can be cleaned and used for vases, jars for treats and homemade goodies, painted or decorated (click HERE for an idea) for your home or to gift, even great to store odds and ends
  • Empty plastic containers such as yogurt and sour cream cartons are terrific to store leftovers, to send home food, or to pack lunch in particularly if the container doesn’t always come home, lol
  • The shower caps you get at hotels are perfect bowl and food covers
  • Purchase the ‘reusable’ bags at the store to give gifts in.  Now they have two gifts!
  • Old clothing can be used as rags and for cleaning
  • Used gift wrap can be shredded for stuffing in packages and gift bags
  • Gift bags and tissue paper can be neatly folded up and used again.  Make a new tag out of an old card
  • Paper ran through your printer that is not what you wanted give to the kids to draw on or use as scratch paper
  • Dryer Sheets:  Use them to remove static cling from pants legs, shirts, skirts and even your hair by running a used fabric softener sheet over the area, also pet hair by rubbing it on your clothes
  • Clothing:  There are endless possibilities here, but to start, sell kids outgrown clothing, give to shelter or homeless agency, take to thrift store to support employment of less fortunate, sell at consignment shop
  • Old Blankets and sleeping bags:  Keep extras in the car for warmth and to wrap fragile items.  To sit on at parades, concerts, games and outdoor activities.
  • Many items can be sold, traded or donated to give them a second life – be creative and try to think outside of the box to save money and waste.


Here are THREE basics that will save you trouble and frustration.

Cleaning with vinegar will save you $ on cleaners.   Mending will save you money as you will be able to fix you own minor repairs.   Knowing how to manage your money and to teach it to your children, will serve you well for the rest of your life – and that of your family too.

Vinegar is a WONDERFUL cleaner and saves you $$$ as it can be used for so many purposes, click HERE

 DSC_0623 - button 11

Mending 101 –

How to Thread a Needle, click HERE

How to Sew on a Button, click HERE  (I learned a trick or two about tying off the back and how to be sure the fabric won’t pucker or be too tight.)

Need a quick hem, or to keep your blouse in place?  Click HERE

      money in trap Teaching Money, Part 1, click HERE

Teaching Money, Part 2, click HERE

Teaching Money, Part 3, click HERE

Teaching Money, Part 4, click HERE  

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today    

For More On This Topic:

A Mother’s Shadow’ a novel by Carrie Groneman (available on Amazon), click HERE

Does the Brand Define YOU, click HERE

Spinning 1

Does the Brand Define YOU?

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Spinning 1

Does the Brand Define You?

In my novel, ‘A Mother’s Shadow’, the main character, Emily painstakingly acquires fabric and then shares the one sewing needle with the women in the family, as she stitches her dress that she wears to the social; which is where she meets Harry.  My question for you is:  ‘Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without‘ is an old saying – it is still wise advice…or expired counsel??? 

In times gone by, possibly in our grandparents time, if not then, certainly our great-grandparents time, ‘things’ were hard to come by.  Patches on clothing were normal; everyone wore them. Spices were limited in foods as they were expensive and not easily available in local neighborhood markets. Exotic fruits and vegetables were generally only tasted by those who had great means for such niceties. Of course sugar, gasoline and many other commodities were rationed during war times; making them scare and highly expensive, if accessible at all. Our world is in commotion and there are so many problems and concerns.  However, we are So blessed!  We have access to so many wonderful things in our life: clothing, food, technology, medical advancement, scientific development; the list could go on and on of the amazing positive life changing improvements that we benefit from. The danger we face is that of TOO MUCH and losing sight of what is important because it is easy to not appreciate, be ungrateful and thankless for what we do have. See, in Emily’s time, as well as our own grandparents or those a few generations ahead of us, they had to work so hard for what they had, they were rarely foolish in their priorities.  I fear in our generation, and that of those coming, that we allow others to determine what is the most valued, even to determining status Isn’t it ridiculous when you really consider it:

  • A pair of jeans that fits great, is made from quality fabric and is comfortable should be the determining factor – not the name on the rivets
  • A ‘brand’ that takes the price of an item, above that of a comparable one, in an exorbitant amount, and we pay it, is pure insanity when the money should be put to better use
  • Instead of repairing a piece of clothing, that would barely noticeable, if seen at all, or even tossing it, is purely reckless
  • Shoes that carry a certain ‘name’, outrageously overpriced and we pay it…have we lost out mind?

I realize it is a choice. This is part of a crucial component of agency and living in a land of free commerce; which makes it beautiful and free. 

My reasoning is this:

  • When the price tag is there and you know it is more than you can afford, remember; that if you must impress your friends with this item, they are not your friends. 
  • If you must buy it to feel ‘good about yourself’ please think about getting to the core of why you think that is the case.  Why you must have the most expensive, to ‘show off’, instead of showing off your beautiful self and spirit by how you live and not what you wear – meaning the name brands.
  • If you have the money, and that is not the issue, think of all the good you could do with the extra resources if you were to buy less expensive; and finding a cause you are passionate about. Oh, the great good you could do!

This same mentality goes through every facet of our life. There are definitely times of financial reversal for many. There are those who never really struggle with money.  Regardless of our money situation, if we have proper perspective of resources, looking for prudent avenues to helps others instead of focusing our priorities on ‘things’, and ‘stuff’ our entire society would shift.          


  • We are individuals with distinct talents.
  • We each have specific skills.
  • We each have lives to bless and change for the better.
  • We each have a work here to do on this earth that NO one else can do but us

The danger lies when we are are caught up in the stuff and things and what society in large, or marketing is telling us to pay attention to so we are influential, we will miss the real way to know WHO to HELP and HOW to HELP.  We cannot listen to God and be where He wants us and doing what He would have us do if we are focusing on ‘stuff’, ‘things’ and the life. The reward for putting all that aside and just having the common sense to buy what we need: There will be an incredible increase of love, peace and happiness in individuals and families.  I promise you, just put it to the test and have a wonderful life! 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

For More On This Topic:

A Mother’s Shadow’ a novel by Carrie Groneman (available on Amazon), click HERE

ALL Gloves ARE Beautiful.  Click HERE

Consequences ARE Necessary, Click HERE  

How Well Do YOU Play Jenga, click HERE

Money freedom

Teaching the Value of Money, Part 4

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Money freedom

Money freedom

Do you know HOW to TEACH your older teen and adult children how to be fiscally responsible?

Do YOU know how to budget?            What OTHER factors play into being self-sufficient?

Total freedom, or making determined strides, away from debt and towards independence is the greatest liberating joy!    

I have some information that can help you and your family in this article to give everyone peace of mind and self-reliance!

Broken marriages and unhappy families are more often than not suffering from severe debt.  There are catastrophic circumstances, out of ones control, that do happen and cause financial strife.  However, most of the time, it is due to wanting something now, instead of later.  The pay-as-you-go theory is almost unheard of today and has been replaced with, “You deserve it now”. Example speaks louder than any words.  If you do not know how to handle money wisely, how can you effectively teach your children, of all ages, this most important life skill.

First Step:  Get your finances in order (help is coming if you need it, keep reading)

Second Step:   Demonstrate, enroll/provide the means for your older teens and adult children to master this aspect.  If your child is graduated from high school, or about that age, they must be expected to handle money responsibly and not live completely off mom and dad if mentally and physically able.  

Third Step:  Ensure your child understands how to keep a checking account/card account and to keep it balanced to avoid overage charges and credit problems.  This is a crucial skill to have!!!

Forth Step:  Have clear expectations that your children understand concerning the rules are for them after they graduate high school.  For us, it has been:  as long as they are working part-time to full-time and going to school full-time, paying their own insurance, schooling costs, books and other expenses, they can live at home, have meals, utilities paid for, etc..  They still must chip in to help with chores, pay for the gas in any of our vehicles they borrow and costs they incur.  If they had scholarships, all the better for them, as they are able to save more money by putting away what they earn at a job. If they were to go away for school we would help with food and expenses comparable.   The one thing we will not pay for are the classes.  The reason being, is if they fail, or do poorly in a class, they do not have the ownership or as much invested.  At 18 they are adults now, and can take full responsibility for how well they do in a class, or if poorly/failed, they can pay to retake it and it does not cause friction or discord in our home, as ‘that is their problem to deal with’.  Money talks when it hurts = they give more attention to studies to avoid extra expenses.

  • How to start or teach how to budget?  I agree whole-hardheartedly in what Dave Ramsey teaches as it is basic enough to understand, it is doable for all people, and is just plain commonsense smart.

He lists the following

Step 1:  Start an emergency plan of $1,000.  Why is this important?  It will cover an unexpected job change or layoff for a time to give you time to find another job.  A car repair comes up. Any real emergency that comes along; and this does not mean a trip to the mall for a shopping trip. Step 2: Snowball your debt and pay it off. 

Step 2: Dave recommends listing all your debts, with the smallest first, and paying them down by putting any extra you can manage into the smallest debt first.  When that is paid off, roll all that payment into the next smallest.  When that is paid off, roll the amount you were putting onto the first and second debts, now combining with the amount you were making payments toward the third to pay it off and so on.

Step 3: When the debts are paid down, or off, save up 6 months of living expenses to carry you through a job loss or unplanned monetary circumstances.

Steps 4 & 5: Invest money and save for children’s college fund.

Step 6: Pay off house early

Step 7: Build wealth and help others  For more in-depth information and a wealthy of resources, visit Dave Ramsey’s site at  

A few items I would like to address –

  • Have sufficient  health insurance, renter or home insurance and life insurance for those who depend on you.
This includes health insurance, renter’s insurance, disability insurance, and even life insurance if you have people who depend on you. Don’t take this lightly, you are at a pivotal moment in your life and the decisions you make today will have a direct effect on you tomorrow. – See more at:
  •  Build up a food storage. Why?
  1. You never know if, or when, there will be a natural catastrophe or disaster in your area and you may not be able to get to a store.
  2. If your employer has to cut back your hours, you will have food for your family/yourself
  3. If a job loss, or major bills such as medical happen, you will have food
  • What is food storage?
  1. Have a storage of water to last you several days (part of this can be your water heater) if there were a disruption in your water supply
  2. Start SMALL and build to a week of food that you normally eat on hand that is NOT part of your menu plans to use. 
  3. After you are able to have a weeks worth of menu items, such as cereal, meat, canned goods, and such, then work for 2 weeks.
  4. Eventually you will want to have 3 months worth of food on hand.
  5. Now start to get a few items such as boxed milk and things that can last without refrigeration
  6. Work on 6 months of storage now of food items
  7. A cooking source that can be used if the power was out.  Such as a mini-gas grill to cook on.
  8. Extra blankets if you live in a cold climate.

What if you happen to have an adult child, who is able bodied, but still ‘living off’ of you? 

Here are a few ideas:

1st – If you haven’t taught them, or given them the tools to be independent, NOW is the time.  Not tomorrow, but start TODAY.  Do not let them guilt you into taking care of them any longer; whether it be from a broken home, not teaching them, it’s too hard, you owe them, etc., etc., etc.,  None of that matters.  Helping them become responsible, independent and worth their ‘salt’ is your utmost concern and obligation at this point.

2nd – Give a time frame, of say 2 months, to move out and be independent.  Stick to IT!  Do NOT give in.  If you do, it is NOT doing them a favor, but enabling and creating an entitled and dependent person and generation.  That’s truly a disservice to your child, your family and society.

3rd – Enroll them in a Dave Ramsey program, or buy them the book so they can understand how to manage money.  Get someone else to walk them through the steps if you are not able to.

4th – Not employed?  There are almost always jobs available, though maybe not up to their expectation.  However, menial labor leads one to want to gain an education/training to expand their horizons, and that is not a bad thing.

5th – The comforts of home may not be available when they move out, but that is what will help provide the motivation to do more, be more and move forward in life.

6th – This WILL BE HARD!  I can guarantee it.   However, I can also promise you, that if you do not take the difficult stance, they will resent you.  Why?           

-a.  Because not forcing an adult child to stand on their own actually tells them that you do not trust them to be independent.

-b.  You do not care enough to force them to grow and mature. Think about it.  We learn from our trials and hardships.  Without learning and growing opportunities, how able to flourish and develop their ability to go beyond the substandard you are expecting.        

-c.  You feel the need to have them depend on you for whatever reason; such as control or the feeling that you are needed – when this really is the opposite motive.  You actually have a greater influence for good and will gain more respect and admiration from your child(ren) when you help/force them to stand on their own and to be independent. 

7th – Be STRONG.  Pray for strength and DO what is RIGHT for your adult child.  Do NOT give in when it is for their own good.  You CAN do this, I believe in YOU and your family!

All of these suggestions addressed, will allow a person who is free to accomplish all that they are here to do, have the ability to help others, and feel great joy in their independence and freedom from bondage. 

This includes health insurance, renter’s insurance, disability insurance, and even life insurance if you have people who depend on you. Don’t take this lightly, you are at a pivotal moment in your life and the decisions you make today will have a direct effect on you tomorrow. –

See more at:

Part 1 Click HERE for Teaching the Value of Money

Part 2 Click HERE for Teaching the Value of Money

Part 3 Click HERE for Teaching the Value of Money,

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

Teaching the Value of Money, Part 3

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Stencil pic

Stencil pic 2

Teaching the Value of Money, Part 3

What are you teaching your teen(s) and young adult children about money?

Do they knows how to save, how to earn it and how to be responsible with it?

When our kids were young, I over heard one saying to the others, “I’ll bet mom and dad are really rich and don’t want us to know and won’t share with us”.   It was funny, and unfortunately untrue (would like the wealthy trial), but at the same time, they always knew they could not have anything and everything they wanted.

Teens and young adults are at a crucial time to learn the basics of economics.  Why?  Because without this knowledge, how can they survive on their own into adulthood and without the help of your pocketbook!

In teaching about Money #1,  the topic of why our children must be expected to gradually become independent financially was discussed.  Click HERE to read it.

In teaching about Money #2, methods were presented to give a child the experience and opportunities to learn to budget and grasp the value of money.  Click HERE for this post.

In this post, I will present ideas to help the teen and young adult understand the importance of becoming self-supporting as they grow into adulthood.

Age Appropriate

It is important to realize the age and level of your child when we talk about then becoming self sufficient.  Reasonable expectations must be kept at the forefront of the direction you are intending to go.

For example:  A junior high, or middle school student should not be expected to pay for all of their own needs, such as clothing, food, school supplies and so forth.  They are not be able to make the pay to cover all of their expenses.

A high school student can take on more, and should be expected to, but again, they are not in a position to care for all their needs either, such as rent/house payment, utilities, living costs and so forth.

This is something to make a matter of serious consideration.  You are teaching and raising a responsible adult, not setting  your child up to fail.

What and How to teach the rewards and consequences of dealing with money

Continue to teach the envelope method or whatever means that will help your child learn to live within their means.

In Teaching about Money, Part 2, I addressed giving them a set budget to work with for clothing, etc.  This concept can now be added to for example for high school dances, extra curricular activities and things that now come into play as the child is older. A budget is now mandatory, allowance -or not, and being responsible with what they have is a vital skill to help them gain.

At the junior high, middle school, age the child should have more expectations from you about how they handle their money.  It is taught in baby steps so they can learn, fail, achieve and succeed; just as in all other life skills.

A high school student should pay a portion of:   their phone bill (if they have a cell phone), car insurance, clothing, extra curricular activities, etc.

Insist your older children have a job, at least in the summer months when school is not in session.  For our family, we chose not to have our kids work regular jobs during the months school was in session so they could pay priority attention to their studies and activities they were involved in, which taught skills and provided growth for adulthood.    They did work off extra chores for money when needed, or could do temporary jobs that did not interfere with their schooling.

The hard part comes into play as they get older.  Say your teen wants to go to a movie with friends, though they went out last week, and spent all their reserve. It is not a necessary thing, yet fun.  Now is the time to hold your ground and not give money simply because their friends are going, or they beg, plead or whine.

You could consider some options:

  1. They can work it off to your satisfaction and earn the money; keep in mind age appropriate expectations.
  2. If there is not time to work it off, you may want to consider a ‘loan’.  Here is a teaching moment.

                    a- Write a loan agreement, simple and short, that is signed by both of you.

                    b- Add in interest, a small amount; just enough to help them understand the basics of a loan so they can begin to grasp the concept of loans and how they work.  This will safeguard them as they learn finance from you, instead of when they have a home, car, etc., they could lose.  Better to learn to avoid any unnecessary debt from the get-go. (Debt for a vehicle, home, medical usually cannot be avoided.  Here we are teaching that debt for frivolous reasons, or simply the ‘I-Want-It-Now’ attitude has unsavory repercussions.)

                   c- Have a date in the contract of when the money is to be paid back and enforce it with extra chores that are in line with their age and ability.  Never set them up to fail, but to learn and grow.

                  d- If this becomes a habit, help them find a suitable job or way to make money and increase the interest to an exorbitant amount to curb their desire to take out a loan.  Another option is to suggest they could put some of their personal belongings on the classified ads to make the money back to pay the debt.  Use good judgement here. Our goal is to help them learn a way of life that will bring a clear conscious and happiness, not to be overbearing or unduly harsh.

Give them training

As our children grew old enough to babysit, they were trained by me, or at a class, on how to calm a baby, basic first aid, helped them create a box with special toys and games to take to the home for the kids to play with, safety rules, and other pertinent information.  Now they were able to babysit for other people and make a bit of money.

My husband Stan trained our boys to mow and edge a lawn properly.  Then after passing his inspection, they could then offer their services to others for a cost.

We were involved in 4-H Clubs and those led to volunteer opportunities, which later led to jobs.

Scout camps were another avenue for training.  A son and daughter worked as volunteers at BSA cub scout camps, which later led to scholarships.

My kids were all taught to swim (not by me), and this ability led to life guarding jobs.

Encourage them to be trained as a career or side job to do things that people do not know how, do not want to do, do not have the tools to do it them self.  (I wish I owned a toilet paper company!)

Self Employment

One very good way to ensure your teens and young adults have a job, as well as to appreciate entrepreneurship and economics, is to help them start their own business.

Stan purchased brass stencils, a few cans of spray paint and a few necessary tools to get them started.  He demonstrated and had them practice making a clean house number stencil on cardboard until it was to his satisfaction.  Next, they practiced (for free of course) on a few curbs of neighbors who gave their permission.  When proficient, the kids worked in pairs, for safety sake.  Loading all the items in an old Radio Flyer Wagon, they went door to door offering to stencil the house number on the curb for a fair price.  When one of them could drive, they loaded the wagon and supplies in the car and drove to another part of town and walked door to door there.   Stan had also cleverly created specialty stencils with local high school and college logos, among other symbols such as a flag, for the resident to pay an extra fee for it, if they desired that also stenciled next to the number.   They made more an hour than we did!  As needed, they replenished the supplies.

Another business we set them up in, was window washing.  We helped with fliers, the poles and cleaners they needed to begin.  A huge part of it though was to make sure they knew how to do a really good job, not leave any streaks, no mess and make sure the home owner was satisfied.  My kids haven’t done it for years now, as they are more in their career stage of life, yet I still occasionally get phone calls asking for their services because they did such a great job.

As I mentioned, my kids learned to swim.  Four of the five were lifeguard certified and two taught private swim lessons at the local pool to make money.

I do have a funny story about this.  I have a bit of goodies put away, such as chocolate, candy, etc., and the kids knew growing up they were not to touch it without permission.  Well, it began to disappear—without my permission.  It turned out my youngest son was taking the treats, cans of pop and such to sell out of his locker at the junior high!  I made him pay me back and extra chores for taking without asking and then took him to the store to purchase his own goodies to sell.  Every week or so, we would go shopping and he could replenish his supply.  (It was not against school rules).  Pretty funny story, but we did encourage his entrepreneurial spirit.  Later, when he was in high school, he bought guitars that he pieced out and sold for parts.  Later he bought an old iron and supplies and waxed skis in our garage. 

Life Skills to save $

Teach, or trade/hire someone, to teach your kids the following:

  • To sew – at least enough to mend and keep clothing in good condition
  • To garden and produce food
  • To cook to avoid eating out all the time saving money and is much more healthy
  • How to clean!
  • To fix and repair things
  • Even if you need to flip the bill, help your child have a ‘blue color’ job so-to-speak, to supplement their later college costs, to make extra money when needed for medical costs, anything really.                                                                                          For example:  help them enroll in high school classes or  the local technical college to learn some welding, carpentry, how to lay tile, mechanics, cosmetology, cake decorating, anything they are interested in and can make money with specialized training.
  • Help them learn how to keep a checkbook, a debit or credit card and to balance their account.

Life Skills for a Happy and Successful Life:

Motivation   Do not provide anything that the older teen/young adult SHOULD be providing for them self.  It takes the drive out of their soul to do things on their own.

Communication  This is a ‘no-text-zone’, lol.  Teach, talk, demonstrate.  Make sure your child can converse in an articulate manner for healthy relationships with friends, at work, etc.  Role play, find resources; whatever is needed to promote this very crucial life skill.

Positive Attitude  Mirror this in your own life. As you stretch beyond your comfort level, look for the good in life, in others and show that you are sincerely happy.  Your kids will most likely adopt these traits also.

Practical Application  Help your teen/young adult apply common sense to daily situations.  This will help them avoid scams and possibly destructive situations as well as dire consequences.  Do not be shy to bring up uncomfortable subjects, again age appropriate, of situations that they most likely will encounter and the tools to know how to deal with them.

Service   In my opinion this is as critical as all the other ideas here.  Provide service opportunities that are for no pay, no recognition and simple for the benefit of another.  For example:  My kids were all expected to babysit for others for free when it involved a service the parents were doing.  When my youngest son was completing his Eagle project for Scouts, my other son was learning to weld in high school, and helped complete the project with his talent, without pay.  If an elderly person, or one who could not physically do it, they would help do yard work, wash windows, mow lawns, and such for no cost; simply to help another person have a better day.  Be sure you make these service opportunities happen.

In summary:

Teaching these principles helps them understand they can do things on their own, they can fix and take care of things, which makes them feel empowered to go beyond what they know. 

Provide growth opportunities so they will gain a ‘can-do’ attitude: which is:  ‘if I can’t do it, I can learn it’ or find sources to teach and help me, without calling mom or dad for every little thing.

All this results in money in the bank and unparallelled confidence of what they can achieve.  An independent, responsible, individual is the reward!

Click HERE for Teaching the Value of Money, Part 1

Click HERE for Teaching the Value of Money, Part 2

Click HERE for Teaching the Value of Money, Part 4

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

money in trap

Teaching the Value of Money, part 2

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money in trap

Teaching the Value of Money, part 2

It’s NOT FREE you keep telling them.

Is your fear that your child will be an adult and live with you always because he, or she, doesn’t know how to handle their money, or earn it?

Do you wonder how to teach your child or teen how to deal with money so they won’t live with you fffooorrr-eevvveeerrrr?

I have some ideas, helps and tips that will help you in my series, that teach children how to manage money so they can learn at an early age how to stick to a budget and be responsible. 

Click through and you’ll find some great resources and ways to make your life now, and later BETTER for you and your child.

Teaching the value of Money, Part 2

Let’s start with teaching kids about money.

Children learn to brush their teeth, to dress themselves, to put on their shoes, and money should be as natural and as necessary as these daily significant tasks.

Example speaks louder than any teaching, game or technique ever can. Demonstrate, do not simply explain, good money skills.

Here are a few ways you can help kids understand the value of and how money works:

  • When they go to the store with you, have them look at the cost of an item, then other same products to compare; such as grape jelly, a name brand versus a store brand.
  • If you coupon, have them help you cut out the coupons and talk a bit about how much it will save your budget to use them.
  • Show how to look for a sale versus a sale. When I was a newlywed I went grocery shopping and was so excited I found a ‘sale’ on ice cream and bought a few containers. When I showed my husband my ‘find’ he asked the price. I told him and he laughed, then explained that was the regular price, they had simply put up a ‘sale’ sign. I learned to be conscious of looking for the regular price versus a sale price after that.

Games involving money are effective to teach the concept of paying for items. I found a wonderful website, “Fun Brain Jr” and they have generously given permission to link to their game, “Money Changer”. I believe understanding the face value of each coin and knowing how to make change is becoming a lost skill unfortunately. I really like this on-line game because you can chose the level from easy to super brain as well as from five different countries currency. Click HERE to link to their site.  (A Special thank you to Family Education Network for permission to link to their Money Game)

Have a family meeting to discuss the family’s finances. Personally, I did not give exact amounts of how much we earned or other personal money matters. Keep in mind that kids repeat almost everything they hear; not realizing some things should stay private. However, we did go into generalities.

I had play money (just enough to cover budget items to make my point) and a list of our expenses such as: power bill, house payment (again, you can give a bogus number for a concept, depending on how many you want to know your exact house payment. Some people care and some do not, just do what is right for you), food, charitable donations, savings, etc. Then let the kids with the amount of play money you dole out, ‘pay the bills’. It helped a bit when trying to get them to take less time in the shower, to save on the laundry by putting clean clothing in their drawers instead of back in the hamper because they were too lazy to put them away, not to waste food and other ‘parent naggy’ concerns when you can remind them about the cost and where the money has to be divided.

Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT give in to nagging for a treat, or whatever they want, if it is not in your budget AND consequently will be expected every time you go to a store. It sets a terrible precedent of knowing they can get anything and everything they want if they holler, whine and beg enough.

            I have a funny story about not giving in no matter what. At the time, my oldest was almost six years old, and my second was almost four, the third was almost two and number four was very close to delivery. My mom called   and strongly urged me to teach the kids about ‘Stranger Danger’. Mom had heard that if a child is being taken, and he was just screaming, most people would ignore it. However, if a child yelled, “Help, this isn’t my mommy, or daddy,” they would be rescued. So we had the lesson and each of my kids practiced so I could report to my mom that my children would most likely be safe.

           As many of you know, taking three kids shopping is quite a chore. I asked the oldest to watch the two year old in the shopping cart. I picked up a block of cheese and handed it to one of the kids to put in the cart; which was promptly handed it to the two year old for safe keeping. A moment later I looked up just in time to see the two year old biting through the wrapper sinking her teeth deep into the cheese. Argh!

          Meanwhile, as my attention was focused on the cheese, my four year old had wandered off a short distance to the candy isle. He grabbed a piece of candy and said he wanted it. I patiently told him ‘no’ and instructed him to put the candy back, and that it was not in the budget to buy he, and his siblings a treat that day. He bit into the candy in defiance knowing that I would have to buy it. Frustrated, and a little angry, I snatched the two year old out of the shopping cart, and tersely told the six year old to hold the two year olds hand and to follow me.

        I warned the four year old he had better not get into any more candy and to hand it over. He proceeded however to pick up another piece and started to run. Luckily I was close enough I could catch him by his clothing.

       I hoisted my young son over my large protruding belly and told him he was in trouble. To this warning he started to holler as loudly as he could, “Help me, help me, this isn’t my mommy!”

       I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or strangle my kid. Fortunately it was a small store close to home and many of the employees knew my kids and me. I started for the exit with the six year old dragging the two year old who was still working on the cheese, passing a store employee, I said, with a tense tone, but with a ‘I’m a good mom’ forced smile while wrestling my four year old, “Please take the candy and cheese, I will be back to pay for them.”
It was embarrassing, but it reinforced to my son that no is NO. The other kids learned also.

Idea:  When my sisters and I were young we would ask our mother for a treat or a splurge item. Mom would open her wallet and we could see that it was empty. Mom later told me that she had a secret compartment in her purse that held her money for groceries and other bills. This is still a great method to consider.

Allowance vs extra – how to have experience
There is a huge division usually in parents who want to pay allowance versus those who do not. It is a very individual consideration.

Our kids had daily chores such as taking out the garbage, helping with dishes, cleaning their bedroom, etc. The small allowance was not tied to their expected daily chores. (Assigning chores teach a responsibility as a member of the family)

We decided to pay allowance, but it was a very, very small amount. The reason why we chose to do this, is because we felt our children needed their own money, that was completely theirs to learn to manage.

Now, the money was not just a free-for-all, there were rules=thus the allowance was a teaching tool. Here are the categories the kids had to allocate money to:

  • Charitable donation – 10%
  • Savings – 10%
  • Gifts – 10% (I grew weary of siblings birthdays, Christmas, etc., and the kids needing money from me so they could give, but it was taking even more from my budget)
  • School/college – 10% (hoped to teach setting aside for later needs)
  • 60% was theirs to do as they wished: movie, treats, hobbies, fun, etc.

To give Extra Money or NOT
There was always a ‘crisis’ financially for my kids it seemed, so I set up a list. I listed extra chores that I wanted, or needed, done but did not fit into their daily chores and helped keep up the house between spring and fall deep cleanings.
Now this list served TWO purposes.

1- If a child/teen wanted extra money they could choose from the list which had a very small monetary value associated with the job. For example the list might include:

  • Clean out game closet
  • Clean baseboards
  • Clean toy side of garage, etc.

Again, the value was small. It is a huge disservice to pay a child/teen who lives in your home a large amount of money for menial labor. It sets them up to expect large pay for anything they do, which is not reality and leads to the expectation that little effort is rewarded with big money. Likewise, it’s important to be fair in compensating kids for the extra work they do.

2- A secondary purpose of the list served to give consequences for broken family rules. I would choose from the list what was to be done and no pay was given.

Side note:  When a child deserved punishment, instead of grounding them to their room, they had to work off the chores I chose, that were equal to the wrong doing committed by the child. 

  • The purpose in this was that when grounded to their room, the child could sit or wait out the time, but it did not benefit me or the family, though the offense put others out. 
  • We wanted to make sure our kids understood full well that their actions affected others and they should feel some discomfort for their choice.
  • Working it off does give a new meaning and pause of thought before doing it again.
  • It is vital children (of all ages) learn that they can make choices, but they cannot choose the consequences; that’s life and reality.

Birthday Parties

Birthdays are a perfect time to help kids/teens learn to manage and allocate money. Before the event I would sit down with the bday person give the modest budget they had to work with.  I would let them have free access to things I had on hand as long as they asked. Things such as cake mix, frosting, paper products, card stock, and things if they wanted to make decorations or invitation to save money, and so forth. The kids could decide what they wanted to do from there. For example if they wanted a swimming party, they had to figure out how many they could invite based on the entrance fee, party favors and a thank you for coming to the party. In my book a tiny thank you to show gratitude for the effort expended to attend the party is a must-do.

Sometimes the girls wanted to make crafts, decorate pillowcases or things of that sort; the budget would need to be taken into consideration to cover those items.

Planning birthday parties in this way help kids learn the following:
1- The sky is NOT the limit.

2- ALL things have a cost

3- How to manage and make adjustments for what they really wanted, such as which craft, which activity, and how many kids to invite.

4- The value of a budget

5- They have ownership in their decisions on carrying out the party (Parents help ONLY as needed)

6- Unless the police are called to the party (kidding- well sort of), just focus on the successes and the good parts of the party. The next year, if needed bring out any lesson learned, but only if the same scenario could happen again. Otherwise forget it. In the long run, remember you are building a confident, independent, responsible person.

TIP: Make this about the kid and his choices. It is not about the parent. This is a picture-perfect occasion to help the child learn about money, realize how much things cost and that they are  NOT always going to get everything they want. This lesson is a way to teach a critical life skill that is worth more than the grandest birthday bash.

School Clothing

When our kids reached sixth grade, we sat down with each and they were given a very modest budget to spend on clothing for the new school year.

We made a list together of needs, such as underclothing, socks, a decent pair of shoes, pants, shirts, etc.
Then we made a list of wants, such as extra jewelry and purses for the girls, things like that.

I did discuss with them how to look for quality made clothing versus cheaply made items and that it is better in the long run to buy quality.

With the list, we looked at the ads (internet makes it all so much easier to find bargains now) and the kids priced out what they wanted versus what they needed. Then off to the store to shop.

Now some of my kids wanted to be fashionable but they didn’t mind looking at garage sales and thrift stores for their clothes. This stretched their budget allowing them buy even more of the things they wanted. However, one of my boys, when he was in junior high, really wanted a pair of name brand jeans. They were so expensive that it would have taken almost his entire budget. We discussed this issue. He went ahead and bought the jeans and a couple of t-shirts and some socks. That was all he was able to get with his money. He did do extra work off the chore list, but his school wardrobe was very small, and, mind you, my kids did not have a lot of clothing anyway.

This was a difficult for me. I worried that the teachers would think my kid was homeless as he wore his new pants and one other pair that he had yet to outgrow, rotating to clean them. It was hard as a parent not to buy him pants just so I looked good. However, I kept asking myself; ‘what will he learn?’  I kept reminding myself that the teachers would not remember in a year, if they even cared.

By Christmas, I didn’t even give him a choice of gifts; he received clothes and one or two inexpensive things he asked for. We talked about his decision made months ago and how he now forfeited a more expensive item he wanted,  for lesser ones because he was getting clothes instead, which was the decision of the giver; also a prime teaching experience.


  • If your child breaks something on purpose, they should be expected to pay for it by working it off, or from their allowance. 
  • If a child breaks or destroys something on accident, it is still a teaching opportunity of responsibility.  For example:  your son is playing baseball in the yard, and accidentally hits a ball which breaks a neighbors window.  Compensation must still be made.  The child will have greater respect for you, and himself, if he is taught that amends must be made, even if it is not intended.
  • If you find your child has taken something that is not theirs (of course a 3 or 4 year old will not usually understand this concept) they must be expected to apologize to the person, store owner, etc. and to make arrangements to compensate for the item.  Keep it age appropriate.

I hope these ideas give you some food for thought. It is vital our children learn that their money choices impact all other areas of their life, and teaching them proper principles when they are young is the best way.

By being determined to do the right thing, the hard thing, in regards to teaching our children how to handle money, they will have the tools and resources to achieve their goals and dreams; as well as being productive, industrious, happy people who are willing and able to make a better life for themselves and others around them.

Click HERE for Teaching the Value of Money, Part 1

Click HERE for Teaching the Value of Money, Part 3

Click HERE for Teaching the Value of Money, Part 4

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

Free Money

Teaching the Value of Money, Part 1

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Free Money

Free Money

How long do you plan to support your able bodied child(ren)?

Teaching the value of Money   Part ONE

In today’s society and our culture it seems to be acceptable, actually almost a standard now, that kids are simply given desires and wants without any obligation on their part = basically entitlement.

To preface my musing, I would like to make sure you know that I am not addressing needs. A need encompasses essentials and necessities, things that sustain life, nourish body and spirit.
For example a child has the right to:

  • food
  • shelter
  • clothing
  • lesson of and experience of work
  • education
  • in my opinion gospel training
  • teaching of proper values and morals
  • love and knowing they are a blessing to the family.

Now for entitlements. Does a parent(s) owe their child(ren):

  • anything they heart desires
  • the other kids have it
  • their life will be easier for having it
  • it’s the latest ___,
  • simply because they want it

Let’s weigh this out. If a child never truly has to work for, and realize the value of money, will the child truly be able to reach their full potential as a happy, productive, industrious human being that will be a benefit to you, your family and to society in general?
Much too often, money, objects and favors are merely handed over at the asking/whining/pleading child of any age.
The long term consequence for this behavior can be devastating and incredibly detrimental.


Because the child often never learns to sacrifice for themselves or others. This is critical. How can a person hold together a joyful marriage if they do not know how to sacrifice. Marriage is a series of comprises, negotiation, agreeing and doing what is best for the other partner and their marriage in the long run; and not giving in to whims or selfish desires of the moment.
Entitlement is a huge millstone around the neck of our society today. Too many children and adults have been pandered to for countless reasons.

  • Some parents often feel guilt for being divorced for example.
  • Some experience feelings of inadequacy as a parent, or they themselves do not possess the life skills to pass on to a work ethic to their progeny.
  • Oftentimes it is just plain easier to give a child what he wants and be done with it.

Giving in to the entitlement mindset causes one to surrender one’s freedom. There really is ‘no-free-lunch’ so to speak. There always has been and always will be a cost to all blessings and privileges. Consider how many have given their life’s blood so we can enjoy the liberties we do today; to express ourselves as we wish, to worship according to the dictates of our own conscience, to go to school and learn as much as we choose, the list goes on and on.

Giving in to an entitlement mentality indeed shackles one with invisible chains, which bind with the links of dependency.
Instead of being able to walk about and act as a free person, we are now captive to the holder of our chain – the one who provided, while proclaiming there would be no cost.

If a parent gives all to a child, without any expectation of payment or compensation, he or she is actually setting the child up to be a prisoner of his parent/s. And later, possibly a slave to the government or worse. This may be a harsh observation, but it is proven true time and again.


  1. How can a child who is never taught to work ever be expected to appreciate the value of money?
  2. Working to pay ones own way, has always been and will always be, the liberating key to solid moral character and ultimate independence.
  3. Parents who teach and expect kids to work at an early age can avoid the pitfalls of able bodied dependent adult children.
  4. When people understand how to stand on their own, it is truly a beautiful thing. Furthermore avoiding heartache and financial strain that accompanies long term child dependency.

The next few weeks teaching children the value of money will be the topic of Monday Musings, such as:

  • How to teach the value of a dollar
  • Why provide work opportunities
  • What can be expected of a child
  • What life skills are important in handling money, and much, much more.

Insisting our family members learn to provide for themselves, is not the comfortable way, but the right way.

Together we can learn, support and achieve genuine happiness in our family, as well as our posterity, now and those still to come.

Click HERE for Teaching the Value of Money, Part 2

Click HERE for Teaching the Value of Money, Part 3

Click HERE for Teaching the Value of Money, Part 4

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

Is The Ballast Balanced?

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How centered is the ballast in your family?

 Did you know that boats of all kinds must have ballast?  The ballast can be anything from the weight of the crew, to a keel that is made of iron, lead or concrete which sits low in the water. Why is a ballast so necessary you may wonder?  Because a ballast provides the balance for the boat in the water and improves stability and control.  If there is not enough ballast, the boat will tip or even capsize in excessively high winds.  Another definition of ballast is (Merriam   something that gives stability (as in character or conduct) When I was a young mom, I admit I was periodically tossed about by the winds of others opinions and what they felt was the most important elements for my children.  I often wondered what was truly important of all the options and extra-circular activities available to help them have all the advantages and opportunities I could give them. Now, years later, may I share with you what I feel will give children a secure ballast to withstand the winds of life.

  • Religion – children must be taught values, morals, ethics and God’s commandments.  As a family practice your faith together.
  • Strong work ethic – children (of all ages) need to feel, notice the word ‘feel’ (experience if you’d prefer) the consequences and rewards for earning money and how to allocate it.
  • Children need to learn skills that will allow them to hold a job when they are an adult.  It starts with such simple tasks as taking out the garbage and making sure they follow through.  As a child gets older, the chores increase in difficulty and responsibility.
  • NO excuses for not earning their own money, particularly when they reach the teenage years.  They can mow lawns, babysit, clean, any number of odd tasks to teach the life skill of doing a job well and finishing a task.
  • Helping your child learn the benefits of work will give confidence and a self assurance into their adulthood, and through their life.
  • Responsibility –
  • Allow your child to take responsibility for them self with money and other choices.  It is much better to learn hard lessons when the stakes are not high as later when they have their own family.
  • Give them choices, within limits, according to their age.  An example for a child would be:  which of these two shirts would you like to wear.  As a teenager, the choice could be which place they will work at to provide for the extra’s they want.
  • Service – create opportunities as a family, and for each child/teen individually to serve without any expectation of reward or recognition.  And to learn to serve without ulterior motives, meaning they will not  ‘get something’  for doing something for another person.
  • Teach gratitude for what others have done.  Be involved in family and expect your children to as long as they are at home.  When on their own, encourage participation in family outings, traditions and events.
  • Culture
  • Music:  My parents married young which meant I grew up listening to their music.  My kids consequently grew up with Tom Jones, Dean Martin, the Beatles as well as music from my high school years.  We also listened to classical music and many wonderful composers.  Expose your family to good music of all genres.  It seems that our teen years are the most impressionable and music is a central focus for most between the ages of 10 and 17 or so.  Do your best to monitor vulgar, inappropriate lyrics and music.  It will, without question, influence your family and the atmosphere of your home, even if you are not listening to it as a parent.
  • Movies:  Old movies, musicals and great entertainment were the norm at our home.  Sunday evenings we watched good shows together with treats and now share many wonderful memories of those times together.  Some moaned at the time, but bring it up with fondness now.
  • Books:  Many nights we sat together and I would read aloud from all types of good books, depending on the age of the kids, from ‘The Box Car Children’ to ‘Little House on the Prairie’ , “Hatchet’, Aesop’s Fables, the list goes on with too many books to name.
  • Make the time, a place and provide a quiet atmosphere (as much as possible with a house of kids!) for school work to be completed.
  • Physical – get out and walk together, play ball, involve the kids in sports or physical activities using care that it does not usurp family time and important obligations.

Just as a boat must have a ballast to help it have stability in the water, our children must have a ballast to withstand the winds of trial and difficulties that come with life.  As a parent, one of the greatest gifts we can give is balance and ballast; ‘skill’s, that are lasting and will serve them well all through their life. Parenting is not easy, nor does it always work out the way we anticipate, but the rewards of raising resilient, confident, responsible and hard working men and women are worth all the effort. Keep up the great work, and know how much you are appreciated.  

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today!