97 Years Young

**THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! Congrats to Jennifer…info on your savings pass to come. Thanks for 1-800 Flowers for this opportunity, and for everyone who commented. Flowers do make the world a better place!**

My Grandma turned 97 on Sunday.

No, I didn’t transpose the numbers, she really is 97 years young. She’s already planning her 100th birthday party, and my parents have moved said party from their back yard to a local reception hall. Because pretty much, if you’ve met her, you are cordially invited.

This past weekend the Indiana portion of her family gathered to celebrate, because, well, she’s 97. Before the party started, we were talking and I once again, realized what an amazing, kind and caring person my grandmother really is. My grandma is still mobile and independent. She still beats me at Scrabble, enjoys playing bridge and is hip to the assisted living center’s dining room politics. She loves fresh flowers, songs she can sing along to, and Everybody Loves Raymond.

She worries though, about her friends at the assisted living center who are becoming, as she puts it “very forgetful”. The friends who sometimes forget when to come to dinner, or forget her name, or don’t remember what day it is.

Last week, when she noticed her friend (who never has visitors and never leaves the center, she tells me) wasn’t at BINGO, Grandma went up to the front desk and asked them to call her friend Mary down for BINGO. The receptionist told her that they couldn’t do that, or else they’d have to call everybody for every activity. My grandma then proceeded to walk back to her own room to call Mary and remind her that it was BINGO day. Mary was surprised and thrilled, because she had, in fact, forgotten it was BINGO day. (according to Grandma, Mary kind of lives for BINGO)

The next morning, my grandma stopped by the manager’s office and complained about the receptionist’s response. After all, isn’t that the point of being in the assisted living center? To get assistance? She gave the manager a short list of her friends who are, in her opinion, becoming a bit “forgetful” and needed a phone call now and then as a reminder.

She then told me that her conversation must have gotten them to thinking, because now that staff is knocking on doors at activity time when the regulars aren’t around.

And I thought to myself, I can only hope to be so thoughtful when I am 97. I mean really, who does that?  (Walking back to her room to call her friend probably took her 10 minutes. She’s mobile, but she moves slowly.)

My grandmother, that’s who!!

So when 1-800 Flowers offered me the chance to send flowers this month as part of their Deliver Birthday Smiles Campaign, I had them sent to her. She was tickled pink, and marveled how they were in the shape of a birthday cake.  She brought them to the dining room to show to all her friends. Then she put them on the shelf outside her room, which typically holds holiday decorations.

Happy 97th Birthday, Grandma!

Want to win a $40 savings pass to 1-800 Flowers to send  a treat to someone you love?? Just leave a comment below — to whom would you send flowers and why? The comments are open through Tuesday, October 26th. Good luck!

Need to send some flowers RIGHT NOW (they have same day delivery!)? Save 15% on Birthday Flowers & Gifts at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM. Promo Code: BIRTHDAY15

(Disclosure: I wrote two posts this month for 1-800-Flowers.com in exchange for these flowers being sent to Grandma. My grandma’s awesomeness? Is all her own.)

P.S. I had a totally different post ready to go, all about how things have changed since 1913. Then I had such a nice conversation with her on Sunday, I couldn’t not write about that. I’ll have to run the 1913 post next year for her birthday. You know, when she turns 98!

Countdown to Fall Break (and a giveaway)

A Flashback: FALL 2008 Junior is more likely kick, rather than sit, on a pumpkin these days 🙂

Updated 10/23/10: This giveaway is now closed and the winner is Shelby! Thanks for playing, Shelby look for an email from me.

Five is apparently the age where you start understanding that a break from school is an anticipated event. Sunday night I was talking to MaM and she figured it out — “So I go to school for two days and then there’s FIVE at home days? That’s awesome!” And she’s been counting down ever since.

We’ve got some fun things planned — a visit to the Children’s Museum, a visit to Conner Prairie for the Headless Horseman, and a quick getaway to Brown County and the Columbus Children’s Museum. We’re even hoping to squeeze in a trip to a pumpkin patch (this week’s Savvy deal), and then there’s Trunk or Treat at church on Sunday. Phew. Should be fun!

In the spirit of all that is fall, I had the chance to preview a Taking the Scary Out of Halloween Kit by children’s author, Joy Berry. It’s a fun kit that includes glow sticks (one that’s a necklace! with a whistle!),  a fun projection flashlight and book about Halloween. The kids have had a great time with the flashlight (are mine the only ones who are constantly playing in the dark bathroom? what? they are?), and the book is a good one. It’s filled with safety tips and also some good manners lessons that can make Trick or Treating go more smoothly. The book also has fun stickers and Halloween activities.

Want to win a Halloween Safety Kit of your own? Leave a comment here, telling me your fall break plans or a costume idea or whatever you feel is seasonally appropriate  and I’ll randomly choose a winner sometime on Friday!

Happy Fall Break, Everyone!

(Disclosure: Joy Berry Books sent me a Halloween Safety Kit to review. Note: the first flashlight was jostled and broken during shipping, but its replacement arrived undamaged and worked great!)

Drive Thru Weekends

Fall is what I like to call our “Travel Season”. With a billion birthdays, a few holidays and Fall Break from school, we find ourselves driving all over the place on fall weekends.  And while I try to plan snacks for the car rides, inevitably, we make a lot of fast food stops this time of year too. It’s not always meal time, but when you pass the only small town for 60 miles, you stop at 2pm if that’s what time you’re passing through.

Enter Wendy’s new Pick Two for $4.99 campaign. I wrote about their all-new salads last month. Now they’ve made a smaller portion (still loaded with good things) and added an option where you can add a menu item (Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, rich and meaty chili, oven-cooked Baked Potato, grilled or spicy homestyle chicken Go Wrap, Dasani bottled water, small Frosty or other small beverage). So I can appeal to my healthy side (salad!  for this post, I chose Apple Pecan Chicken — SO GOOD) and my decadent side (Frosty!) in one simple order. I like simple.

Of course, you could go totally “good” and get either chili or a baked potato and have yourself a fine lunch with good variety.

But in the effort of full-disclosure, I’ll admit it: I always choose the Frosty.

(Disclosure: I was a sent a Wendy’s gift card to try these new salad/menu combinations. No one told me to get the Frosty, I decided to do that all on my own.)