The kid is rolling in the dough

Despite the cost of everything shooting through the roof, we know someone making money. Even better, we are related to him.

He is our grandson, which should be a close enough bloodline to provide some comfort in our old age.

He’s only 9, but  I just read about three kids under the age of 10 making millions on YouTube. They wow viewers by partying on yachts, riding in Ferraris and traveling the world.

Our grandson isn’t on the internet; nor does he ride on yachts, or in Ferraris, or throw big parties. He floats on a pond in an inflatable raft, rides in a four-wheeler with his dad and grandpa and prefers being alone to big parties.

And he’s making money hand over fist. Well, make that hand over hot pad.

People usually have a dream in mind when they set out to make money. This boy was no different. His dream was a jigsaw. Aisle 22 at Harbor Freight.

Jigsaws aren’t cheap, especially quality ones, which the boy is sure will last longer. He has long shadowed his dad in the woodshop, watching, helping, sweeping up and working on his own projects, most recently a guitar.

The base is a rectangle of 2 x 4 blocks stacked 2 deep and bolted together. His dad helped him cut a face for the guitar with the appropriate curves. The boy attached a neck, also made from 2 x4 s, carved frets into the fret wood and attached tuning pegs someone gave him. It is a nice-looking guitar, albeit on the heavy side and still needing strings.In any case, he wanted to buy his own jigsaw. He saved allowance money, birthday money and asked for extra chores. The cash began adding up, but he was still short.

Then his oldest sister was selling frozen cookie dough for a fundraiser. He saw how much his brother and sisters wanted them, so he bought a box of 48 mounds of frozen dough for $17. That’s a big capital investment when you’re 9.

He baked a tray and “let them sit out for a minute because they smelled super good.” His four siblings quickly materialized, all clamoring for a cookie fresh from the oven.

He said, sure – for 50 cents.

A few days later, he baked some more. Not long after that, he began running a “special” – two for a dollar. His dad paid a full dollar for a cookie.

Next thing you know, the kid was purchasing a jigsaw.

He’s already made lot of things with the jigsaw but can’t reveal what because they are Christmas gifts.

With the leftover cookie dough, he bakes a few at a time for himself and eats one a day for Advent, which in his mind is something like the opposite of Lent.

The family is on their own for cookies.

Meanwhile, he has found a hollow log in the woods and plans on using the jigsaw to create a bird feeder. The birds will eat at no charge.


Lunch, anyone?
If you live in the Indianapolis area, and would enjoy a festive holiday lunch with an uplifting speaker (I will be that speaker!) at Second Presbyterian on N. Meridian,  Thursday, Dec. 8 at 11: 15 a.m. Tickets are available here:


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Money flies when you shop budget

I recently snagged a cheap flight on an airline known for being “economical.” I told one of the kids the airline I was flying and she exploded. Just like a volcano—molten lava flowed out of both her ears.

“Mom!” she shrieked.  “Don’t you know they’re the airline with issues?”

I asked if by “issues” she meant those videos of people throwing punches in the aisles. I informed her it was a predawn flight and people who brawl on airlines are still in bed that time of day.

She said it wasn’t that I would be in a viral video, it was that the airline is known for never leaving the airport.

I told her that an economy airline doesn’t mean you don’t leave the airport—it only means you may leave the airport in a teeny, tiny plane and have to flap your arms to keep it airborne.

I paid for my flight, which was amazingly cheap. Then I was asked if I’d like to pick a seat, which meant an additional fee. Did I want to pay extra to take a bag on board for a small fee?

It was a la carte. Some of your finer restaurants are a la carte.

A week before my flight, an email said for a small fee I could have priority boarding, which would mean early access to overhead bins.

I thought about it, as I think the fighting often breaks out when the overhead bins are full.

Four days before departure, I received an offer to bid on more leg room. As a matter of fact, I could make multiple bids on more leg room.

I wondered if the multiple bids were for individual legs, a bid for the right leg, and a bid for the left leg. Or maybe you could just bid for more space for your right leg and let your left leg cramp.

I didn’t need more leg room, but the bidding concerned me.

Three days before my flight, an email asked if I’d like to purchase an extra wide seat. My first thought was, who’s been talking? I immediately jumped on the bathroom scale. I am not wider, which is why I stopped by the ‘fridge on my way back to the computer.

Would I have to pay for an oxygen mask? Was there a fee for a safety floatation device? How about the restroom? I haven’t used a restroom on a plane for decades, but what if?

Two days before departure, another email asked if I would like to buy Wi-Fi, which “would last for the entire duration of the flight.” Not Wi-Fi just during take-off, or just during extreme turbulence, but for the whole flight!

Despite pre-flight anxiety—free of charge; no fee required—the flight was wonderful. I define wonderful as when the plane stays in the sky.

I took a different airline on my return flight, one that gives you a seat, overhead storage, leg room, a beverage and snack, and Wi-Fi all for one price. The all-encompassing price and my budget a la carte airline were less than a dollar apart in cost.

Sometimes what looks like a savings isn’t a savings. Hence the old saying, “Let the flier beware.”


Below is part of President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation written in November 1864, the year before the end of the Civil War. It is worthy of reading and reflection and truly puts some meat on the bones of this holiday. I’m am thankful for every reader whom I am connected to through cyberspace. I only wish I could welcome you to the table and offer you a piece of  pie.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Happy Thanksgiving!

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Five steps to taking down a turkey

One of our daughters recently said the thought of making dinner every night for the rest of her life can nearly trigger a panic attack.

I feel the same way each year as Thanksgiving rolls around and I have to cook a turkey.

To prep or to panic, that is the question.

Every fiber of my being longs to be a woman who awakens Thanksgiving morning giddy with excitement at the prospect of transforming a big naked bird, with creepy goosebump skin and a disgusting little bag with the neck, gizzards, kidneys and gallstones deep inside its cavity, into a culinary wonder.

But I never have been that woman and never will be.

I have learned to accept this. I only hope those who sit at our table have learned to accept this.

I awake Thanksgiving morning and prepare for battle. It will be me and the turkey—and only one of us will win.


Step 1: I pull the bird from the refrigerator and am shocked that it is still partially frozen. Every year for nearly 40 years the bird is still partially frozen and every year for nearly 40 years I am shocked.

Step 2: I check that the turkey hotline is in my cell phone under favorites.

Step 3: I begin sharpening knives hoping some visual intimidation will give me an edge over the bird. I even say so aloud throwing in some trash talk. “You’re fowl,” I hiss to the bird.

The turkey’s entire body shakes with laughter.

Step 4: I don my apron with big bold letters that say, “IN IT TO WIN IT!”

The turkey again responds, shaking with laughter. This time it shakes so hard that it bounces toward the edge of the counter and nearly falls to the floor.

“See if I care!” I shout as I lunge and push it back to safety. The bird and I have a long-standing complex love-hate thing going.

Step 5: I regroup, do some deep breathing, slowly circle the bird three times, then abruptly grab it, putting it in a half Nelson, or a quarter Nelson, whatever. The bird slips from my grip. I attack again; this time using a hammerlock. We tussle rough and tumble. The ruckus continues and the outcome appears uncertain.

I’m sweating, turkey juice is smeared all over the countertop, cookware is scattered on the floor and a turkey gizzard is sliding down a cabinet door—but I have prevailed. I have set a record, having ripped the plastic wrapper from the bird in under 7 minutes.

I take a short break and recaffeinate. In only four more ugly takedowns the bird is stuffed, basted and planted in the roaster.

I can taste victory. It has hints of sage, celery and yellow onion.


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Are you pumped for pumpkin spice?

Each year it starts just a little bit earlier than the year before. There was a time when the hoopla didn’t begin until November. Then it slowly filled October and spilled over into September.

Pumpkin Spice. It’s an all-out invasion.

Coffee shops and doughnut shops have traditionally led the charge, but now pumpkin spice is in Cheerios, cheese curds and face masks.

Perhaps you would be interested in some Native Pumpkin Spice Latte Deodorant. Yep, you can pumpkin spice your underarms. If that doesn’t say the holidays are around the corner, I don’t know what does.

Even dogs are lapping up the pumpkin spice craze. You can buy pumpkin spice dental treats for your pooch.

Oh, there now kitty, kitty, don’t get pouty. There’s pumpkin spice for you, too – pumpkin spice scented litter boxes.

Seriously? Do we really want to take all the fragrances of warmth and goodness associated with fall and the holidays and dump them into the litter box?

Yes, we do!

Pumpkin spice is all you can taste, see and smell everywhere you go—pumpkin spice ice cream, pumpkin spice Werther’s caramels, pumpkin spice Life cereal, pumpkin spice Cliff bars, pumpkin spice yogurt pretzels and pumpkin spice applesauce.

Oh, and, drum roll, please . . . pumpkin spice Kraft Mac and Cheese. It was such a hit in Canada that it is coming to the U.S. Yes, cheesy goodness with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice may soon be available near you. Perhaps the blue box mac and cheese will come in orange.

How about some pumpkin spice marshmallows on that s’more? Or in your hot chocolate? No? Maybe some, pumpkin spice coconut milk, a pumpkin spice bagel, pumpkin spice peeps or pumpkin spice mini-wheats?

Spam and hummus now come in pumpkin spice, too. Ditto for Pringles.

If you still don’t have enough pumpkin spice in your life, try some pumpkin spice toothpaste.

Salmon? Yes, pumpkin spice salmon. It’s so odd, it might be good.

Kale chips and Toll House chips have also jumped on the pumpkin spice bandwagon. Sounds like a party mix to me.

Burt’s Bees lip balm—pumpkin spice. Seems the bees ought to have some say in promoting a squash instead of honey or beeswax.

Even concrete comes in pumpkin spice. That’s color, not scent. (I think.)

Welcome to our pumpkin spice home, where you will be inundated with the color of pumpkin spice on the driveway and walkway, overpowered by pumpkin spice fragrance from the kitchen to the bathroom and our armpits, and every single food in the house will taste like pie.

At the rate we are going, in another few years pumpkin spice latte will be the national drink and a pumpkin will replace the eagle on the national seal.

As that short kid in the zig zag shirt who helped launch this whole trend would say, “Good grief.”


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