Last Minute Valentine’s Day Plans

Today is Valentine’s Day! Now don’t panic if you’re still working out some plans and/or gift ideas. I have some tips for you! (Just so you know, this week’s blog is not directed at my husband, who’s always very good at making plans. Love you, hun! Happy Valentine’s Day!)

If you haven’t thought much about what to do today, here are a few ideas, from

  • Create Something Together: Make a scrapbook or time capsule with your partner or children, parents, or friends, and fill it one with meaningful mementos. (The “time capsule” could be just an old coffee or box can that you place in the closet and open on a significant anniversary/day.) So all that sentimental stuff – photos, old movie tickets, take out menus, etc. – that Marie Kondo is encouraging you to toss out you can instead put in the time capsule or scrapbook. Talk about sparking joy!
  • Make A Romantic Meal at Home: Cook something that’s simple and serve the meal on a candlelit table. Play some soft, relaxing music in the background. And make sure to help your loved one clean up after the meal.
  • Go On A Picnic: If you live in a warm climate, take your valentine outside and enjoy some sandwiches and snacks. If you live in a colder part of the country, take your picnic inside; place a few blankets on the floor, and enjoy your meal right there.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be dinner out at an exclusive restaurant or expensive jewelry or a big box of chocolate, although those things are pretty nice! Valentine’s Day just means spending time with a loved one (or loved ones).

We’re all crazy busy and so don’t always appreciate the people in our lives. So make this day special for the special people you know and love.

Oh, and don’t forget to record anything you buy your valentine, like flowers, candy, apparel, etc.

Have a very happy Valentine’s Day!

Best Regards,

Millennials And Online Shopping

Are you a Millennial? If not, do you know a Millennial?

Well it seems that Millennials – anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) – really like to shop online.

Millennials are certainly more active on social media than older generations, and this impacts how they look for information as they shop. For example, Millennials are much more likely than the general population to “conduct online research for common items like food and cleaning products,” according to The Nielsen Company.

And Millennials aren’t just doing research, they’re also buying a lot of consumer packaged goods (basically, anything packaged with a barcode). Check out this chart – based on NCP data – regarding the percentage who purchased consumer packaged goods online in the past three months:

How do Millennials – and others – get online? Well, according to Nielsen data, Millennials are “highly mobile, and their smartphones are increasingly becoming their go-to devices when it’s time to shop.”

This is how the various demographic groups get online, according to Nielsen:

Since so many Millennials, and other groups, shop online, here are some tips for recording those very purchases!

  • Online purchases may come in one or multiple shipments and don’t always include a packing receipt. Consider printing out your email/order confirmation so you can refer back to it when reporting your purchase.
  • If your items do come separately, please scan them as you receive them.
  • If an item arrives with the UPC barcode covered by another label, try carefully peeling off that label and scanning the UPC barcode on the item (or manually enter the barcode number if the barcode is damaged).
  • If you buy something from the website of a retailer that also has a storefront, make sure to report the trip as an online purchase. For example, if you order something from Walmart’s website, select “” when you record the purchase (whether the item was shipped directly to you or picked up at the store).

As always, thank you panel members for reporting all of your purchases, especially the online ones.

Have a great weekend!

Will The Groundhog Give Us A Break From This Bleak Weather?

Well, it’s almost Groundhog Day. And that means if the little critter sees his shadow there’s only six more weeks of winter. Or is it if he doesn’t see his shadow there’s six more weeks of winter?? I always get confused.

But anyway … With much of the country in a deep, deep, deep freeze, any thoughts of winter being over and done with works for me! It’s been ridiculously cold in many parts of the country.

So let’s hope for an early spring as we await the “official” word from our groundhog friend.

Did you know that Groundhog Day marks the halfway point to the spring equinox? Here are some other facts about the day and the little guy himself, from The Old Farmer’s Almanac (

  • According to legend, if a groundhog sees its shadow on this day, there will be six more weeks of winter; if it doesn’t, then spring is right around the corner. But, as the Almanac says, “If he sees his shadow, we’ll have six more weeks of winter; if he doesn’t, it’ll be six weeks till spring” because, of course, the dates of the equinox do not change.
  • Groundhog Day also represents “the triumph of spring over winter—and birth over death.” Originally, this was a Celtic festival marking the cross-quarter day, or midpoint of the season.
  • The Christian church later called this festival of light, “Candlemas.” The English name refers to the candles lit that day in churches to celebrate the presentation of the Christ Child in the temple of Jerusalem.
  • In the 1800s, German immigrants to Pennsylvania brought their Candlemas legends with them. Finding no badgers but lots of groundhogs, they adapted the New World species to fit the lore.
  • The groundhog, also known as a woodchuck or whistlepig, typically makes its home in the brambles and thickets that grow where forests meet fields. There, it digs burrows between 4 and 6 feet deep and up to 40 feet long—removing as much as 700 pounds of dirt in the process.

Now if you’re curious about the long-range weather forecast in your area of the country, check out this page on The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s website:

Stay warm my friends! And have a great weekend. And go Rams!

Best regards,