Posts Tagged ‘Evansville’

“You’re one of the 3 cheapest people on the planet, and the other 2 are your friends,” my 14 year old son told me. I wear it as a badge of honor.

Our Convention Visitor’s Bureau spent more than $3,000 on their Christmas party, with a final tab totalling $219.95 per person attending. This blog won’t deal with the politics.

As one of the top 3 cheapos on the planet, listed below are ways I have organized cheap parties for volunteers that had good food and were fun.

Meat trays and pitch in: I purchased a ham on sale, had the grocery store slice it, and purchased bread store buns. Club members and volunteers brought drinks, snacks, desserts, and condiments. My daughter and I made ham trays.  Total cost to feed 25 people: $22, or 88 cents per person.  For entertainment, volunteers set up black light volleyball.

Soup and sandwiches: Bargain shopping at grocery and bread stores, we made meat and vegetable trays with ham, beef, and turkey for 70 volunteers, plus beef/vegetable soup, Texas sheet cake and apple crisp. Total cost: $200 to feed 70 people, or $2.86 per person.

Video game party: Last year, we had a free room for a video game party for club members. Members brought in video game equipment and systems. All food was potluck.  Total cost: $0 to feed 30 people, or $0 per person.

Laser tag party: we take 25 youth and volunteers to Walther’s for Laser Tag on cheap night. Two laser tag games cost $8 per person. Club members voted to pay for  laser tag instead of food. Total cost: $200 for 25 people, or $8 per person.

Pizza potluck pitch in: we ordered in pizza for a family night potluck, estimating 2 pieces of pizza per person, 4 people per pizza.  With 24 attending, we purchased 6 of the cheap $5 pizzas.  All other foods were brought in/donated by members and volunteers.  Total cost: $30 for 24 people, or $1.25 per person.

Cookie reception: With cookie receptions for my children’s choir, we were forced to purchase punch for $15 per gallon. So we ordered 3 gallons for $45 and asked parents to bring 2-3 dozen cookies per family.  After the reception, we donated leftover cookies to an area homeless shelter. Total cost $45 for 10o people, or $.45 per person.

Others ways to cut costs: hire a local caterer for the main foods. Prep the drinks and ask those attending to bring desserts/appetizers. That can cut @$3 per person from the final tab.

It’s easier to raise money and encourage others to save it when they see that you count every penny and make every penny count. I’m a volunteer. I organize volunteers. And I raise funds for non-profits.

If you have other suggestions for volunteer parties that cost less than $219.95 per person, please comment below. I would love to find some new ideas!

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Early this morning, Forest Hills Wesleyan Church burned in Evansville. Friends of mine and their families have spent a lifetime in that church.  Tonight’s blog is for them and others experiencing loss.

When you lose everything you think you own, it is overwhelming. Almost 10 years ago, we lost our home in a fire. Now I can see good things that came from our loss.

Lessons I learned: 

  1. Grow in compassion.  My children, ages 5 and 7, lost their toys and everything they owned. It gave them both a sensitivity to loss they would otherwise not have.
  2. Don’t love anything that can’t hug you back. Stuff is stuff. You can replace stuff with new stuff. I had a chef’s kitchen before the fire. My replacement kitchen is nice, but I’m not attached to the equipment. A cook makes the food good – not the equipment. 
  3. Good people will help you. We were amazed at the people who stepped forward to help us. Accept their help which will humble you.
  4. Seize the fun. Grab every opportunity to have fun. Two days after our fire, as we waited on insurance adjusters, I took our kids to Holiday World – albeit with borrowed swimming suits and towels. It was our last opportunity to be silly until we rebuilt.
  5. Home is a state of mind more than a state of place.  Our home wasn’t the building but where we lived together. When we spent 3 months living (and running our business) in a 2-bedroom, 800-square foot apartment, we were together, and that’s what mattered.
  6. Rebuild and renew. Don’t recreate the past. It’s gone. Shift rooms and redesign so you build new memories instead of walking into every room and remembering the old ones.
  7. Look for signs of hope. I collect crosses and crucifixes which hang throughout our home. Post fire, during reconstruction, we had white crosses on smoke-stained walls of every room of our home. They impacted those who helped us and carried me when I was most discouraged.
  8. Pay it forward. Once you recover, you will have a lifetime to pay it forward to others in need. 

For today and tomorrow, take it a day, an hour, and a minute at a time. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

When you inch forward, you get that much closer.

If God brings you to it, He will help you get through it! Your friends will be glad to help too!

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If we want to eat locally grown food, we need to let locals grow food.

Locally, it may get more complicated with the proposed merger of Evansville and Vanderburgh County. 

Evansville was once rural.  Sixty years ago, my neighborhood, now in the center of town, was cornfields. We still have family farms outside city limits, in the county.  

If the merger happens, those family farms could be at risk. If merger proponents fail to acknowledge the right of local farmers to farm, they will face tough opposition from farmers and their families.

They will also face opposition from city folk like me who believe in local food and free enterprise.

This impacts real local families – such as the following:

  1. Some local teens raise chickens to sell eggs for their college fund. What if that family’s been adversely impacted by the recession and relies on that egg money to purchase food? What happens if they get restricted to the 6 bird city ordinance? Do families lose an income source?

  3. Several older families are the last holdout on the family farm. Most of the land was sold to developers, but they still have the homestead and farm a little. Imagine a retired couple who raise enough corn and other crops to feed extended family. They donate surplus produce in the summer to local food banks. If we make them stop, we remove local, fresh produce from their family – and the poorest of our poor.
  4. Imagine a large operation dairy farmer. The whole family gets involved in the milking and caring of cows – whether nursing a sick cow through a heat wave or tending the herd during an ice storm. If city ordinances restricts their business, a family loses its heritage and livelihood. Our county loses the income from the sale of milk.  

Our nation was built by families who wanted a place to raise their families and tend their farms in freedom. We may not have as many farms now as we once did, but let’s protect the ones we still have.

We cannot grow local food if the merger kills farmers  with 1,000 city ordinances.

What can you do?

Attend the next city-county merger meeting and support the rights of local farmers to grow local food!

Civic Center, December 16, 5:30 p.m.

Let our farmers grow!!


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Santa's Workshop

Remember when Ralphie looks at the department store displays in A Christmas Story? Evansville families can see comparable displays at the Vanderburgh 4-H Center Winter Carnival. Freewill donations are accepted for this first class family outing. What makes the Winter Carnival special?

Outdoor Light Display. Santa’s Workshop (in the SIAM building in the center of the lights display). The Southern Indiana Antique Machinery Club has restored Main Street’s department store Christmas displays and exhibits them from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays.  Santa will be sitting in the workshop if you would like to visit him or have your picture taken with him.

Christmas Tree Contest. Nineteen area 4-H and extension homemaker clubs decorated trees inside Santa’s Workshop. A donation bucket sits under each tree so visitors can vote for their favorites. Tree themes reflect their decorators. Themes include sunflowers, pink feathers, a frog theme made with recycled soda cans, and contest ribbons. Some donate decorations to charity after the carnival – one has school supplies, and another hats and gloves. Shameless hint: my kids helped with the Tech, Energetics, and Livestock club treese. The Tech treeme is decorated with household items donated by club members which will be donated as a housewarming present to a Habitat for Humanity family after Christmas. The Energetics tree is decorated with Christmas candies the members strung into garland and fashioned into ornaments. The Livestock tree is decorated with animal ornaments which club members made out of recycled soda cans and hollowed out eggs.

Supper with Santa. On Friday, December 3, the Center will host Supper with Santa at a cost of $5 per person. This includes supper (pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, drinks, and cookies), crafts for kids, a visit with Santa, and games. A pedal tractor pull contest will also be held for a $2 per entry fee. Reservations are being accepted through this Wednesday, December 1, at 867-6217.

Support the 4-H Center. The Vanderburgh 4-H Center is the ONLY Indiana fairgrounds which is a private not-for-profit.  They do not receive government funding to stay open. They survive solely on facility rentals and donations. Your donations at the Winter Carnival help them continue to provide facilities to local 4-H clubs, maintain their playground and basketball goals, and provide a wonderful place for local families to walk and picnic. 

Volunteers from SIAM, the 4-H Center, and over 20 local 4-H and extension homemakers clubs come together to decorate for the Winter Carnival. They provide an affordable Christmas outing for families and hope the donations received help us preserve this local treasure.
A Very Sweet Christmas

Energetics Christmas Tree

Helping Habitat for Humanity

Tech Club Christmas tree

Animal art

Livestock Club Christmas tree

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The giant sucking sound you hear is the hole that opens in your heart when you realize your pet is missing.

If you are well connected on social media, Facebook and Twitter can help you look for your pet.  Here’s how to look on Facebook:

Digit's FB photo helped his owners find him!

  1. Have a digital picture of your pet on your computer.  Make it a shot where your pet is easily recognizable. I don’t recommend including people or kids in the shot. You want people to see the pet, not the people. Especially don’t recommend kids in the photo to protect their privacy.

  2. Make sure your Facebook friend lists includes some neighbors who live in your area.
  3. Find Facebook pages of media outlets in your area. WIKY in Evansville, Indiana, posts lost pet photos as a service to its fans. “Like” them. If none in your area offer this service, ask your favorite one if they will.
  4. If your pet disappears, post the picture of your missing pet on your wall.  Do this directly in Facebook, not from Hootsuite. You want the link to be sharable.
  5. In the caption area, tell the pet’s name, breed if it helps, any special characteristics, where the pet was lost, and contact info to reach you. If you have a landline and a cell, I would post the landline phone # as you don’t know where this will go.
  6. If a media outlet helps with this in your area, send the photo of your missing pet to them. 
  7. Ask your friends to share your photo with their friends, and pray the right person sees the photo. Be sure to ask them to show the picture to everyone in their family at home.

My Facebook friends had a Saturday night drama with a missing dog last night.  Digit’s owner posted this photo and the situation.  Her drama had a happy ending. 

 The daughter of a mutual friend of ours, who lives nearby, took her kids in a walk, hoping to see Digit.  They spotted Digit, cowering in the doorway of a nearby college fraternity.  Digit was terrified, but my friend’s resourceful daughter acted like a Dog Whisperer to calm him and coax him to their home.

Because our friend’s family had seen Digit’s photo on FB, they knew who he was and where he belonged.  They, and other friends began posting details of his find on different Facebook walls.  By this time, people who knew neither the owner nor Digit were part of the story.  We were all glad to read Digit was back home with his happy family.

Another friend posted on my wall that she had posted a photo on FB when her dog disappeared a month ago.  A friend saw the photo, was visiting the dog pound, and recognized her lost dog at the pound.  Her dog was saved because of a photo on Facebook.

Then a friend shared that she found a lost dog on her porch, posted his photo on FB, and he was returned to his owners. She added, “Facebook saved him.”

If you’re on Twitter, you could do the same with Twitpic and tweets, but that’s another blog.

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