Top of the Morning March 27


Hello – hello!  and hugs to *you* last Monday of March.

I’ve been busy clearing away last year’s expired plants in gardens and planters to make way for new ideas of growing combos.  You?

Collected these 12 for today’s line-up of fun + inspiration.  Click to enjoy!

Grateful that you’re here hanging out.



Dear Annie:

I am the adult child of divorced parents who divorced 25-plus years ago and both remarried 20 years ago.  I have three siblings and three stepsiblings.  My mom and her husband are retired, very comfortable moneywise and own several investment properties and “toys.”  My dad and stepmom are semiretired and do OK, but are probably less financially sound.  My parents don’t get along great, so they’re only invited to the same events when it’s big stuff like weddings, graduations, etc.

My problem?  Mom and her husband are extremely cheap.  Whenever there’s a get-together, they never volunteer to bring anything substantial — maybe a small side or two — and never contribute to the main course cost.  And they don’t host at their house, so it’s never on them to reciprocate.  If we eat out (which is rare), not only do they never offer to pay for everyone but they only pay for themselves when told that we’re getting separate checks and no one is picking up their tab.

My dad and stepmom, on the other hand, almost always pay when we go out to dinner.  They also host events at their house and contribute meaningfully when the event is not at their house.  These events happen several times throughout the year for holidays or birthdays, so it keeps happening and is becoming increasingly irritating.  I can tell my brother’s wife is getting irritated, too, as she hosts and is generous with buying the $100 pieces of meat that my mom’s husband loves to go back for second and third portions of.  We try to set expectations upfront in the family group text, but they’re typically ignored.  Also, neither side is great in the gift-giving department, so they’re not making up for it there.  What to do, if anything?  ~ Feeling Like a Food Pantry in the Midwest

Dear Feeling Like a Food Pantry:

You are going to have to explicit with your mother about your expectations.  While she is obviously not generous, she doesn’t seem to egregiously offensive in her spending habits either.  After all, she is paying her fair share at restaurants and contributing side dishes to family parties.  Still, I can understand your irritation — especially in comparison to the generosity of your dad.

You can’t force your mom to host, but you can be more regimented with how you divide and conquer the responsibilities.  If you want to be extra-precise, you can make a spreadsheet for family events to make sure everyone is assigned equal responsibilities.  Or you can call your mom beforehand and say, “Would you mind picking up two sides, a dessert and a bouquet of flowers before the party?”  You’d be surprised how much progress you can make by simply asking for exactly what you want.

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4 replies
  1. Marty says:

    I enjoyed the emergency clean up for surprise guests coming. The items suggested for dusting caused me to look up at my ceiling fan! Whoopsie dirty! Now to those dirty windows. Here’s what works every time. Add about one teasooon Dawn soap to a bucket half full if water. Scrub the window (no rinsing needed) and squeegee off! Works every time! PS. Avoid using towels and rags for drying as 2-3 days later streaks appear. Just saying!

    • Cheryl clarson says:

      Hi Marty!

      Ugh! I have a ceiling fan or 3 around here that all need (cleaning) attention! ha

      Dawn soap – I have heard that before.

      Also white vinegar + water and newspapers – my great Aunt Jen Lou! Do newspapers exist for such cleaning purposes anymore? Not so much!

      Love the Dawn soap idea very much! On task tomorrow.

      Thank you, Daymaker! I appreciate you + commenting + hints for all of us.

      Wishing you a grand evening

  2. Carol says:

    What a jam-packed fact filled issue! I have ideas for an emergency house rescue, for a year-round herb garden and two new recipes – not to mention a history lesson and some chuckles. Enjoyed it!!!

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